US lawmakers on Friday introduced the Taiwan Fellowship Act to help US federal government officials gain a better understanding of Taiwan, said US Senator Edward Markey, one of the lawmakers who introduced the proposed legislation.
The act is modeled after the 1994 Mansfield Fellowship Program between the US and Japan, Markey said in a statement.
It would provide federal government employees with a two-year fellowship as part of an exchange program to allow them to learn, live and work in Taiwan, he said.
The bill was introduced to both chambers of the US Congress by Markey, US Senator Marco Rubio and US representatives Ted Yoho and Ami Bera.
Markey said that when participants concluded an exchange program and returned to the federal government, they would be better positioned to advance US values and interests in the Indo-Pacific region by taking advantage of the special emphasis on bolstering Washington’s strategic partnership with Taiwan.
“The US strategic partnership with Taiwan’s vibrant democracy of 23 million people continues to grow from engagement and cooperation in areas such as trade, human rights and the rule of law, security, and battling a global pandemic,” Markey said in the statement.
“Amidst China’s concerted campaign to isolate Taiwan on the global stage, an exchange of our most qualified public servants to the island nation of Taiwan is a visible demonstration of our unwavering commitment to Taiwan,” he said.
The proposed legislation reiterates the US’ commitment in the Taiwan Relations Act, which affirms Washington’s policy “to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural and other relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan,” the Taiwan Fellowship Act says.
Moreover, the bill is consistent with the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, emphasizing that “the United States has grown its strategic partnership with Taiwan’s vibrant democracy of 23,000,000 people.”
In the statement, Yoho said that the Taiwan Fellowship Act is a long overdue investment by Washington to support the professional development of Taiwan experts in the US federal government.
Bera said that the US and Taiwan have developed a strong relationship and he believes that the bill would enhance bilateral ties by allowing federal government officials to equip themselves with a stronger understanding of the Indo-Pacific region so that they can better inform US policymaking when they return home.
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