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Senators from the United States have introduced a bill to increase security assistance to Taiwan

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - On Thursday, a pair of US senators submitted legislation to boost support for Taiwan, including billions...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - On Thursday, a pair of US senators submitted legislation to boost support for Taiwan, including billions of dollars in security aid and modifications to the decades-old law that underpins Washington's unofficial ties with the Chinese-claimed democratic island.

The United States, which accuses China of expanding military pressure against Taiwan, is its most ardent defender and arms supplier, a source of growing conflict between Washington and Beijing, whose ties are already at an all-time low.

According to the text, the senators' Taiwan Policy Act of 2022 threatens severe sanctions against China if it attacks Taiwan, provides $4.5 billion in foreign military financing over the following four years, and designates Taiwan as a "major non-NATO ally."

The bill's sponsors, Democrat Bob Menendez of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Republican Lindsey Graham of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it would be the most comprehensive reorganisation of US policy toward Taiwan since the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which has been the bedrock of US engagement with the island since Washington opened relations with China that year.

"There should be no confusion or ambiguity about the depth and strength of our willingness to stand with the people of Taiwan and their democracy as Beijing continues to try to bully and isolate Taiwan," Menendez said in a statement.

He claimed the bill conveyed a clear message to China that it should not repeat Russia's mistakes in invading Ukraine.

"If we demonstrate weakness in the face of Chinese threats and actions toward Taiwan, the danger will only get worse," Graham added. According to Senate aides, the pair wanted to have the bill approved by the committee and sent to the Senate floor as soon as next week.

Washington and Beijing have remained steadfast in their differing viewpoints on Taiwan's right to self-rule.

A request for comment on the draught legislation was not immediately returned by China's embassy in Washington.


Some of the bill's provisions made President Joe Biden's administration and the State Department nervous, according to a US official familiar with it, because they could antagonise China.

Any legislation would also need to pass the House of Representatives, and another broad plan aimed at boosting the United States' competitiveness with China has been stuck in Congress for months.

A request for comment from the White House and the State Department was not returned.

If passed as written, the bill would "prioritise and expedite" arms sales to Taiwan until Congress determines that the threat to the island has significantly diminished, as well as direct the Secretary of Defense to establish a training programme to improve Taiwanese and US armed forces interoperability.

In response to "substantial escalation in hostile activity in or against Taiwan," such as weakening or overturning Taiwan's government or conquering the island, the US president would be compelled to impose penalties on Chinese officials, including its president.

Parts of the Taiwan Relations Act will be amended, notably the requirement that US arms provisions to Taiwan be "conducive to deterring acts of aggression" by China.

It would also compel the State Department to seek negotiations to rename Taiwan's de facto embassy in Washington the Taiwan Representative Office, and it would enhance the role of Washington's senior diplomat in Taiwan by requiring Senate confirmation.

Beijing has never shied away from using force to reclaim Taiwan, and Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe recently stated that China's military "would have no choice but to battle at whatever cost and defeat any effort at Taiwan independence."

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