The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill to boost US security assistance to Taiwan by authorizing $6.5 billion over a period of 5 years.
The bill, which is called the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, was approved by a 17-5 vote, with Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky voting against the bill, according to a Democrat staffer.
The bill will now be sent to the Senate floor; however no date has been given for a vote. The bill will need to pass the Senate and House, and then get the signature of President Biden.
“We need to be clear-eyed about what we are facing,” said Senator Bob Menendez, who is the committee’s Democratic chairman. Menendez did stress that hostilities with China should also be avoided at all costs.
“If we want to ensure Taiwan has a fighting chance, we must act now,” said Senator Jim Risch, who is the committee’s top Republican, arguing that any change in the status quo for Taiwan would have “disastrous effects” for the U.S. economy and national security.
Hsiao Bi-khim, who is Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Washington said that discussions are ongoing about possible sanctions towards China.
“We haven’t discussed any specifics. “We talked about integrated deterrence in a broader sense of the need to explore different tools to ensure that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait can be maintained,” Hsiao said.
Hsiao went onto say that she had expressed “gratitude” to Congress for the legislation. “Given the complication of different views here in the United States too, we’re hoping that we can reach some consensus on security, which is our top priority,”
US congressional delegations have also visited the self-governing island in recent weeks. Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez referenced the visits in announcing the legislation on Wednesday.
“After soliciting and incorporating input from Members of the Committee to address wide-ranging views and concerns, holding multiple hearings and briefings on this issue, as well as allowing for Committee members to travel to Taiwan, we passed a comprehensive piece of legislation to lay a new and bipartisan path forward for U.S.-Taiwan policy that maintains cross-Strait stability, all while reinforcing a status quo that is under threat from Beijing and that, without reinforcement, would inevitably and invariably collapse,” Menendez said.
When the bill was introduced in June, China responded by saying it would be “compelled to take resolute countermeasures” if Washington took actions that harmed China’s interests.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET
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