US House committee passes TAIPEI Act, members call for recognition of Taiwan as country

US House committee passes TAIPEI Act to protect ally, congressmen call for recognition of Taiwan as country

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act (TAIPEI Act) on Wednesday (Oct. 30), with some representatives calling for the U.S. to recognize Taiwan as a country.

As was the case in the Senate on Tuesday (Oct. 29), the congressional committee passed the bill unanimously. During the proceedings, Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH) said, "Taiwan is a critical ally in the Pacific and ought to be a role model for other nations across the globe."

Chabot pointed out that last month, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati dropped diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China. The TAIPEI Act is meant to discourage other countries from "making that same mistake," said Chabot.

Chabot then said that Taiwan meets all the requirements of a sovereign state economically, diplomatically, militarily, and politically. He said that these facts make it clear that Taiwan is an independent nation, reported VOA.

He then called for the U.S.'s formal recognition of Taiwan, saying "It is pretty obvious that Taiwan is an independent country to anybody who looks at the facts, and it's well past time that U.S. policy catches up with these facts." Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL) echoed Chabot's sentiment and said that it was time for the U.S. to recognize Taiwan as a country, according to the report.

The TAIPEI Act was co-sponsored by Michael McCaul (R-TX), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Albio Sires (D-NJ), co-chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus; and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX). After its passage by the Foreign Affairs Committee, the bill must be voted on by the full House.

Once the bill is passed in the House, representatives will work with the Senate on a unified version that will be sent to President Trump's desk for his signature to become law. According to the bill, the US government should consider it to be in its own national interest to reduce "economic, security and diplomatic contacts” with any countries that take significant action to harm Taiwan.

For the full text of the bill, click here.