A US Senate committee on Wednesday endorsed increasing US military support for Taiwan, including billions of dollars worth of additional security assistance, Reuters reported.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee supported the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022 by 17 votes to 5despite concerns about the bill in US President Joe Biden’s administration and anger over the measure from China.
The strong bipartisan vote was a clear indication for support from both Republicans and Biden’s fellow Democrats for changes in US policy towards Taiwan, such as treating it as a major non-NATO ally.
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The bill will be the most comprehensive realignment of US politics toward the island following the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 — the basis of U.S. engagement with the Chinese province since Washington opened up relations with Beijing that year.
“We have to keep a clear eye on what we’re facing,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, the committee’s Democratic chairman, while stressing that The United States does not seek war or heightened tensions with Beijing.
“If we want to ensure that Taiwan has a fighting chance, we have to act now,” said Sen. Jim Risch, the top Republican on the committee, arguing that any change in the status quo for Taiwan would have “catastrophic consequences” for the economy. USA and national security.
The bill will provide $4.5 billion in security assistance to Taiwan for four years and will support its participation in international organizations.
The act also includes extensive wording on sanctions against China in the event of military action across the strait that separates it from the mainland.
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Recall that when the bill was introduced in June, China responded that it would be “forced to take decisive countermeasures” if Washington took actions that harmed China’s interests.
“We haven’t discussed any details,” Hsiao Bi-kim, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Washington, said at a Capitol event when he was when asked if she had discussions with the White House about specific sanctions.
“We talked about integrated deterrence in the broader sense of the need to explore various tools to ensure that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait can be maintained,” Hsiao said.
She said she expressed “gratitude” to Congress for the legislation. “Given the complexity of the different views and here in the United States, we hope that we can reach some consensus on security, which is our top priority,” she said.
The commission’s approval cleared the way for a vote in the full Senate, but no word on when that might happen. To become law, it must also pass the House of Representatives and be signed by Biden or gain enough support to override a veto.
The White House said Tuesday that is negotiating with members of Congress on how to amend the act to ensure that he does not change longstanding US policy toward Taiwan, which he believes has been effective.
The Taiwan bill is likely to pass later this year as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual policy-making bill for the Department of Defense.
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The expected package includes 60 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles and 100 AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder tactical air-to-air missiles