A cross-party delegation led by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Charles Chen (陳以信) is scheduled to return to Taiwan today after meeting with more than 20 members of the US Congress and other US officials to discuss bilateral trade and cross-strait relations.
The seven-member delegation also included KMT legislators Sandy Yeh (葉毓蘭), Jessica Chen (陳玉珍) and Chang Yu-mei (張育美), as well as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Mark Ho (何志偉).
The group met with US Representative Mark Takano, who agreed with Charles Chen’s suggestion that cross-strait dialogue could help lower tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, Charles Chen’s office said in a statement.
Takano, the chair of the US House of Representatives Veterans’ Affairs Committee, also expressed the hope that Taiwan and the US could cooperate on veterans’ affairs, it added.
US Representative Don Beyer, who was part of a delegation to Taiwan last month, told the visiting lawmakers that Taiwan and the US should strengthen trade, and expressed the hope that a Taiwan-US bilateral trade agreement could become the first such deal signed by US President Joe Biden during his time in office, it said.
The delegation also met with senior officials from the US National Security Council, with whom it discussed Taiwan-US relations and the situation in the Taiwan Strait, as well as Washington’s proposed Taiwan policy act.
At the Twin Oaks Estate, the group spoke with Delaware senators and representatives, and were joined by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), it said.
The lawmakers were visiting as the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday passed the Taiwan policy act.
At a talk yesterday in Taipei on the bill and the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), convener of the KMT-affiliated National Policy Foundation think tank, said the bill is unlikely to result in conflict in the Taiwan Strait, even though Beijing protested its introduction in the Senate.
It is also unlikely that the US would make further changes, as some US senators were already dissatisfied with the current version of the bill — which had proposals removed to avoid upsetting Beijing, he said.
Despite the toned-down language, it demonstrates US bipartisan support for Taiwan and a change in US policy toward China, he said.
The war in Ukraine appears to have made China more cautious, and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) sees growing US support for Taiwan’s independence and likely believes that the US will eventually drop the “one China” policy, he said.
Making a prediction about the future of Taiwan-US and US-China relations, Lin said he expected an accelerated arms race between the US and China, growing US support for Taiwan — which would result in more international space for Taiwan — and an increasingly tense situation in the Taiwan Strait.
Wang Hsin-hsien (王信賢), an associate professor at National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies, said he believed the content of the Taiwan policy act might still be adjusted, but that the bill would still be enough for the US to put pressure on China.
The US and China would likely introduce competing legislation related to Taiwan, with Beijing possibly drafting a bill on the promotion of unification with Taiwan, he said.
Taiwan New Constitution Foundation deputy director Sung Cheng-en (宋承恩) said the Taiwan policy act is a culmination of pro-Taiwan US bills introduced over the past five years, as it incorporates items from those bills.
Although concessions were made, it demonstrates continued concern over Taiwan’s security, he said.
Regardless of the version of the bill signed into law, the content related to boosting Taiwan’s defenses would remain, he said.
Additional reporting by Yang Cheng-yu
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