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US Senate's Taiwan Policy Act stuck in review limbo

Proposed bill would boost Taiwan's defense capabilities, international participation

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U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The review of the Taiwan Policy Act 2022, proposed by U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez and Senator Lindsey Graham last month, has been delayed multiple times.

The bill would provide financial support for Taiwan’s defense capabilities, increase support for Taiwan’s democratic government, and offer additional backing for Taiwan’s international participation.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was originally scheduled to hear the proposed legislation Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 3) but was temporarily delayed because Menendez had to participate in other senate matters, according to Liberty Times. It was further postponed due to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer only being able to get the entire senate to agree to advance the motion for Finland and Sweden to join NATO on Thursday (August 4), according to a U.S. Congressional Quarterly report.

However, the bill is now stuck in limbo as U.S.-China relations are strained and tensions in the Taiwan Strait are at an all-time high following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. There is speculation that the U.S. congress is holding off from advancing the bill to avoid further angering China, Liberty Times reported.

Pelosi, the first house speaker to travel to Taiwan in 25 years, led a delegation to visit Taiwan from Aug. 2-3. In response, China announced it would conduct military drills in waters near Taiwan from Aug. 4-7.

Beijing also banned a number of food products from Taiwan, including two types of fish.

On the eve of Pelosi's trip, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a closed-door briefing regarding Taiwan. Participants included Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Jessica Lewis, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Brett Holmgren, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner, and Vice Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy of the Joint Staff Brett Sylvia, per Liberty Times.