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Senators introduce bill to strengthen US-Taiwan relations

Taiwan Relations Reinforcement Act aims to enhance cooperation between Washington, Taipei

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Taiwanese and American flags (Reuters photo)

Taiwanese and American flags (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. senators Marco Rubio and Jeff Merkley, who are both on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday (Oct. 21) introduced the Taiwan Relations Reinforcement Act in order to update American policy toward the East Asian country.

The bipartisan legislation calls for the establishment of an inter-agency Taiwan policy task force, the elevation of the U.S. representative to Taiwan to a Senate-confirmed position, the establishment of a U.S.-Taiwan Cultural Exchange Foundation, a report on the Taiwan Travel Act, promotion of Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, a list of strategies to protect American businesses and non-government entities from Chinese government coercion, and a response to China’s operations against Taiwan, according to an official press release.

The bill points out that Beijing’s threats and actions to “unilaterally determine Taiwan’s future through non-peaceful means, including the direct use of force, military coercion, economic boycotts or embargoes, and efforts to internationally isolate or annex Taiwan, would undermine stability in the Taiwan Strait and are of grave concern to the United States Government.”

It also calls on the government to strengthen military cooperation with Taiwan under the framework of the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances in response to increased Chinese military threats in the Taiwan Strait. Furthermore, the bill urges the Taiwanese government to increase military spending in order to effectively implement its asymmetric defense strategy.

“Continuing to strengthen the U.S. relationship with Taiwan, a fellow democracy and an important security partner in the Indo-Pacific region, must remain a top priority of U.S. foreign policy,” Rubio said. “I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan legislation, which will update U.S. policy to better reflect the realities in the region and work to address many of the challenges as well as the threats posed to Taiwan and U.S. national security by the Chinese Communist Party.”

Merkley stated that Taiwan’s democracy "is critical to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, and our relationship with Taiwan is important to America.” He continued by saying:

“The United States needs to use its diplomatic, economic, and cultural clout to support partners like Taiwan that share our values. From expanding exchange programs to encouraging Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations to defending U.S. businesses from Chinese coercion, the Taiwan Relations Reinforcement Act takes important steps to promote a robust relationship with Taiwan.”

In a statement to Taiwan News, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed sincere thanks to the U.S. Congress for supporting Taiwan. MOFA also added it will continue to maintain close ties with allies in Congress and the American government in order to promote Taiwan-U.S. relations.