A Senate committee took the first step Wednesday toward directing the United States to provide billions of dollars in military aid to Taiwan and making ties more formal, increasing support later. as tensions rise with Beijing.
The United States has for decades sold weapons to Taiwan but the new law would go further by providing US$4.5 billion worth of security assistance over four years, a move that is sure to make Beijing angry. It also places sanctions on China if it uses force to try to take over the island.
With support from both sides, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Taiwan Policy Act, billed as the most far-reaching upgrade of relations since the United States switched recognition from Taipei to Taiwan. Beijing in 1979.
Lawmakers went ahead with the move amid growing anxiety over Taiwan following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, which prompted China to make the move. Major war games are considered as test runs for an invasion.
Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat in Biden who leads the committee, said the US “doesn’t seek war or increased tensions with Beijing” but needed to “be discerning.”
“We are cautiously and strategically downplaying the existential threats facing Taiwan by raising the cost of taking the island by force so that it becomes too high a risk and unattainable,” Menendez said. Okay”.
Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the committee, said “it is imperative that we act now to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities before it is too late.”
The bill still has to clear the entire Senate and House of Representatives. The White House has not said whether President Joe Biden will sign the bill, though strong backing could mean Congress could bypass any potential veto power.
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