US lawmakers’ passage of a bill that aims to ensure the country’s leadership in the Indo-Pacific region shows growing anti-China sentiment in the US Congress, a researcher said on Friday.
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday passed the Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act (EAGLE Act), which contains several provisions regarding the US’ diplomatic and economic ties with Taiwan.
“There is this anti-China sentiment there, which is driving members of the US Congress to explore every type of option to strengthen ties with Taiwan,” said Arthur Ding (丁樹範), professor emeritus in National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of East Asia Studies.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The act calls for an expansion of the US-Taiwan trade relationship, urges action to promote Taiwan’s participation in international organizations and calls for starting negotiations on renaming Taiwan’s representative office in the US to the “Taiwan Representative Office in the United States.”
The Taiwan International Solidarity Act — which was incorporated into the EAGLE Act — states that the UN’s recognition of the People’s Republic of China as the sole representative of China makes no determinations about Taiwan’s sovereignty or its representation at the UN.
“The renaming of Taiwan’s representative office in the US in particular must be addressed, because the current name — the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office — does not sound political in nature,” Ding said. “The current name reduces Taiwan’s status to that of Hong Kong.”
Former minister of foreign affairs Chen Chien-jen (程建人) said the bill shows that US-China relations have hit a new low.
“However, this has also resulted in many Taiwan-friendly voices within the US Congress to emerge,” he said.
The US recognizes China’s rise as a challenge and threat to its interests, which provided the impetus for creating the EAGLE Act, he said, adding that any law aimed at China would unavoidably touch upon Taiwan.
“However, things like renaming the representative office are sensitive subjects, and it remains to be seen whether the US administration will act upon the clauses of this act,” he said.
Nevertheless, support for Taiwan at different levels of the US government and society is a welcome sight, he said.
The EAGLE Act needs to be reviewed by the full House before being put to a vote in both chambers of Congress and being signed into law by the US president.
Additional reporting by CNA
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