Members of both chambers of the US Congress on Wednesday reintroduced the draft Taiwan Fellowship Act, which would establish a program allowing US officials to study and work in Taiwan for up to two years.
In the US Senate, the bill was introduced by US Senator Edward Markey, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee on East Asia, and US Senator Marco Rubio, a committee member.
In the House of Representatives, it was introduced by US Representative Ami Bera, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation, and US Representative Steve Chabot, a subcommittee member.
The bill was initially introduced in June last year, but was not included in the previous term’s congressional schedule.
It would allow officials to spend two years in Taiwan, where they would spend one year learning the language, and about the people, history and political climate of Taiwan, as well as issues affecting the relationship between the US and the Indo-Pacific region.
In their second year, they would work at a government agency or civic institution in Taiwan.
Up to five officials would be selected annually in first two years of the program, and up to 10 fellows would be selected annually thereafter.
The act would “build upon the US strategic partnership with Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” Markey wrote in a statement on his Web site.
“While China seeks to isolate Taiwan from meaningful cooperation in tackling our global challenges, the swift passage of the Taiwan Fellowship Act would be a key step to signal that America is back, as committed as ever to our partnership with Taiwan, and re-engaged in the Indo-Pacific region,” Markey wrote.
Rubio said that the bill is modeled after the Mansfield Fellowship with Japan, a one-year program between the two nations, and aims to expand Washington’s bilateral and cultural ties with Taipei.
Bera said that the program would provide experiences crucial for developing US experts on Taiwan.
Chabot said that it would deepen the relationship between the US and Taiwan.
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