A bill described by its sponsors as “the most comprehensive restructuring of US policy toward Taiwan since the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979,” was expected to receive bipartisan support at a committee hearing yesterday, one of its initiators said on Tuesday.
“I think we will have a strong bipartisan vote tomorrow that we’re working on,” US Senator Bob Menendez said a day before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Menendez chairs, was to mark up the draft Taiwan policy act (TPA).
The legislation includes clauses calling for an “enhanced defense partnership” between Taiwan and the US, under which Washington would provide Taipei with US$4.5 billion in foreign military financing.
It also comes with symbolic gestures, including the renaming of Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office to the “Taiwan Representative Office.”
Another provision would designate Taiwan as a “major non-NATO ally” for the purposes of expediting arms sales. The status is currently afforded to Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea and others.
The bill has raised concerns in the White House.
Photo: Taiwan Presidential Office via AP
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told Bloomberg last week that he would meet with congressional leaders to discuss the TPA, initiated by Menendez and US Senator Lindsey Graham.
“There are elements of that legislation, with respect to how we can strengthen our security assistance for Taiwan, that are quite effective and robust; that will improve Taiwan’s security,” Sullivan told Bloomberg’s David Rubenstein on Wednesday last week. “There are other elements that give us some concern.”
Bloomberg reported that Sullivan declined to go into detail, but it said that the US government was trying to strike a balance between supporting Taiwan while tamping down growing bipartisan hawkishness on Capitol Hill against China.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) yesterday said that China resolutely opposes the TPA, which “seriously violates” basic principles of international relations, the “one China” principle, and the Three Joint Communiques between the US and China.
Asked about yesterday’s committee session, Menendez told reporters in Washington on Tuesday that he and other senators did have “various conversations with the administration” over the proposed bill.
“We think we are landing in a good spot that can meet some of their concerns and at the same time have a very strong bill, and expresses the Senate’s intent of strengthening our relationship with Taiwan, of assisting Taiwan in its abilities to preserve its territorial integrity,” he said.
He said that the bill would not change the US’ policy toward Taiwan, but it would give “greater clarity about our willingness to help Taiwan.”
Asked if there were to be changes to the wording of the bill in the committee session, the senator said there would be “some edits to it, there will be some changes” as there normally are in any legislative process.
The support for Taiwan is important, Menendez said, citing the example of Lithuania, which has faced Chinese economic sanctions for months after allowing Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius last year.
“This is a test for the West. If we cannot help a country like Lithuania meet the challenge of China for deciding its own sovereign decisions, then we will lose this battle,” he said.
SOVEREIGN NATION: The Chinese premier’s remarks about the CCP’s resolve to achieve unification sought to undermine the legitimacy of Taiwan, the MAC said Taiwan will never accept Beijing’s attempts to undermine its sovereignty, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday, after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at its National Day celebrations in Beijing vowed to achieve unification with Taiwan. The CCP’s statement was not conducive to peaceful cross-strait relations, the council said. The event, hosted by the Chinese State Council, featured Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), the other five CCP Politburo Standing Committee members and Vice President Wang Qishan (王岐山), as well as 500 guests from China and abroad. Taiwanese based in China also attended the ceremony, Xinhua news agency
The Kaohsiung District Court has ordered a man to pay a convenience store NT$600 (US$18.83) in compensation for using his own mug to refill a pot of tea eggs, ruling against the store manager’s NT$1 million claim. In May, during the peak of a domestic COVID-19 surge, a man surnamed Lee (李) added water from his mug to a pot of tea eggs after seeing it was nearly dry. A clerk stopped Lee, then discarded all 60 eggs in the pot, worth an estimated NT$600, after consulting with the manager, it said. The manager sued Lee, demanding NT$1 million for damage to the
Washington is evaluating a transfer of weapons systems requested by Taiwan, according to a copy of a report by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) that is to be submitted to lawmakers tomorrow. Asked whether the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile would be among the weapons systems, the ministry refused to comment, but said that it would not rule out announcing the specifics later this year. The ministry’s domestically sourced high-priority military investments include submarines, next-generation light frigates, rescue ships, advanced trainer jets and infantry fighting vehicles, the report said. Planned deals include F-16A and F-16B jet performance upgrades, navigation and targeting
DEFENSE-READY: The armament of the ‘Yushan’ allows for amphibious combat operations, the head of a firm involved in the ship’s construction said The navy yesterday took delivery of the first locally developed and built naval ship of more than 10,000 tonnes in a ceremony in Kaohsiung presided over by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The ROCS Yushan, an amphibious transport dock, was the result of a government-initiated indigenous shipbuilding project seeking to establish autonomy over national defense, Tsai said. She thanked CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台船), the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology and the navy for their contributions. The military needs the best equipment to uphold peace and defend Taiwan as it faces military threats from China, Tsai said. The 153m long and 23m wide Yushan