The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is on Wednesday to deliberate on the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022.
The deliberations were originally scheduled to take place on July 9, but were postponed to Sept. 3 after some Republican senators requested more time to study the bill. It was further postponed as the US Senate first handled Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership applications.
Robert Sutter, a professor of international affairs at George Washington University, in an article published in The Diplomat on Saturday said that bipartisan majorities in both chambers of the US Congress indicate support for Taiwan.
“Supporting Taiwan as an important partner in dealing with these challenges [from China] remains a high priority,” he wrote.
China increased military exercises around Taiwan after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei early last month.
However, that did not deter further US congressional visits to Taipei or efforts by the administration of US President Joe Biden to foster closer ties with Taiwan, he wrote.
The bill calls for “more symbolic moves in the legislation,” such as renaming Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington from the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” to the “Taiwan Representative Office,” Newsweek reported on Thursday.
It also proposes changing the title “American Institute in Taiwan [AIT] director” to “AIT representative,” the appointment of which would require Senate confirmation similar to ambassadorial appointments.
The US might also designate Taiwan a “major non-NATO ally,” as it has done for Australia, Israel, Japan and South Korea, to facilitate arms sales, the magazine reported.
Although some elements of the bill might be discarded, the US is “unlikely to halt future debate” on its Taiwan policies, as China has been increasing pressure on Taiwan, Newsweek reported.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has told reporters that “some of the contents [of the bill] made us worried.”
Kuo Yu-jen (郭育仁), a professor at National Sun Yat-sen University’s Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies, on Saturday said that the US Congress appears to be seeking “pre-emptive preparedness” with the bill.
Each Taiwan-friendly act the US passes would serve as a legal basis for its administration to formulate policies, most of which are “compliant with the baseline,” he said.
It is therefore reasonable for Sullivan to worry about the bill, as some of its provisions might exceed the baseline established in the past, he added.
The US executive branch might be concerned that the bill would prompt China to take an even stronger stance against Taiwan in the “overall strategy for resolving the Taiwan dilemma in the new era,” which China plans to propose during the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party next month, he said.
However, it is because of Beijing’s tough measures that the US Congress proposed the bill, which seeks to bolster US strategies according to changes in the relationship between the US, Taiwan and China, he said.
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