The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed a bill calling on the US government to formulate a strategy to counter China’s aggression against Taiwan.
The committee on Thursday passed by a voice vote without objections the “Taiwan protection and national resilience act,” which was introduced to the Senate on March 30 by US senators Marco Rubio and Gary Peters.
“It’s in our national and regional security interests to firmly support Taiwan, a valued ally of the United States,” Rubio said in a statement.
“Congress must continue to closely monitor the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party] hostile acts against our democratic ally, and remain firm in our strategy to deter any aggression against Taiwan,” he added.
The bill is to be sent to the full Senate for consideration and would only go into effect if the same version of the bill is passed by the Senate and the US House of Representatives.
The bill would require the US Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, the Department of State and other federal agencies to submit reports exploring options in preparation for, and in response to, a hypothetical Chinese attack on Taiwan.
The bill stipulates that the secretary of defense, within 180 days after the enactment of the bill, should submit to Congress a report that identifies US goods and services that are relied on by China and could be used as sources of leverage against it.
The report should include the US Armed Forces and other federal agencies’ reliance on Chinese goods and services that could be exploited by China, the bill says.
The US secretary of the Treasury would have 180 days to compile a report that describes a comprehensive sanctions strategy to advise policymakers on how to counter China’s coercive actions, it says.
Coercive actions include “an invasion by the People’s Republic of China that infringes upon the territorial sovereignty of Taiwan by preventing access to international waterways, airspace or telecommunications networks,” it says.
The sanctions should involve restricting China’s access to oil, natural gas, munitions and other supplies needed to conduct military operations against Taiwan and in the Indo-Pacific region, it says.
It should diminish the capacity of China’s industrial base to manufacture and deliver defense articles, it says.
The bill would request that the US secretary of commerce make recommendations on how to reduce the US’ trade vulnerability to China.
The bill was passed with two statements added: The bill should not be seen as a change to the US’ “one China” policy and should not be seen as authorization for using military force.
In other developments, legislation to strip China of its status as a “developing nation” in some international organizations was passed by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Thursday.
The committee approved the “ending China’s developing nation status act” without dissent.
The bill would require the US secretary of state to pursue changing China’s status as a developing nation in international organizations.
Proponents of the bill say that status can allow special privileges in some organizations or treaties.
The committee’s approval paves the way for the measure to be considered by the full Senate, although there was no immediate indication of when that might take place.
A similar measure passed the House in March by 415-0.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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