Menendez and Graham propose an overhaul of US policy toward Taiwan
On Friday, Senate lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation to overhaul US policy toward Taiwan, outlining key US commitments to defending the democratic island from a Chinese military invasion.
The legislation, called the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, was introduced by the senses. Bob Menendez (DN.J.) and Lindsey Graham (RS.C.). Lawmakers said the proposed bill represents the most comprehensive overhaul of U.S. policy toward Taiwan in more than four decades.
“As Beijing continues to seek to constrain and isolate Taiwan, there should be no doubt or ambiguity about the depth and strength of our resolve to support the people of Taiwan and their democracy,” said Menendez, president. of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. in a report.
The legislation aims to more clearly define America’s commitments to the island that have long been defined by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.
Lawmakers are asking for $4.5 billion in security aid for Taiwan over four years.
The bill also creates a new initiative to bolster Taiwan’s defense capabilities and designate Taiwan as a major non-NATO ally, an important label that provides the island with advantages in defense, trade and security cooperation.
Other initiatives in the bill include support for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations and the multilateral trade architecture, a move likely to draw stiff opposition from Beijing.
Beijing considers the island to be part of China and rejects any initiative by foreign governments or international organizations that appear to legitimize Taiwan as an independent country.
The bill follows statements reported last week by Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe that China “will not hesitate to start a war” and “pull Taiwan to shreds”.
US intelligence officials have previously warned that there is an ‘acute’ threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan by 2030 and that Beijing is assessing the risk of such action by closely monitoring the US response to the invasion. Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We live in dangerous times. China values America and our commitment to Taiwan,” Graham said in a statement. “The danger will only get worse if we show weakness in the face of Chinese threats and aggression towards Taiwan.”
The legislation also follows President Biden’s remarks that the United States would come to the defense of Taiwan militarily should China seek to take control of the island by force, most recently during a visit to Japan last month. last.
The remarks sowed confusion over whether this represented a shift in US policy, a historic stance of “strategic ambiguity,” where Washington provides defensive support to Taiwan but recognizes the democratically-ruled island as independent from Beijing.
White House officials quickly sought to clarify that the president was not announcing a change in US policy.
Still, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed frustration with the ambiguous US policy, calling on Washington to show more forceful support for Taiwan in light of heightened threats and military posturing from Beijing.