U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is leading a coalition of senators pushing for the U.S. to support Taiwan even as China encourages other countries to cut ties with that American ally.
This week, Rubio joined U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Col., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Bob Menendez, D-NJ, in bringing out the “Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act”
“This legislation is intended to strengthen Taiwan’s standing around the world and comes in response to several nations breaking official diplomatic ties with Taiwan due to Chinese pressure and bullying tactics,” Rubio’s office noted. “The TAIPEI Act requires a U.S. strategy to engage with governments around the world to support Taiwan’s diplomatic recognition or strengthening unofficial ties with Taiwan. Additionally, it authorizes the State Department to downgrade U.S. relations with any government that takes adverse actions with regard to Taiwan, and to suspend or alter U.S. foreign assistance, including foreign military financing, to governments that take adverse actions with regard to Taiwan.”
On Wednesday, the senators offered their rational for introducing the proposal.
“This important legislation reaffirms our commitment to the U.S.-Taiwan relationship and allows for the State Department to take diplomatic action against governments that alter diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of China,” Rubio said. “China’s insidious agenda to isolate Taiwan cannot go unanswered, and I call on my colleagues to quickly pass this bill.”
“The United States will use every tool to support Taiwan’s standing on the international stage,” Gardner said. “This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to stand up to China’s bullying tactics against Taiwan, and will send a strong message to those nations considering siding with China over Taiwan that there will be consequences for such actions.”
“Beijing is promising paydays to governments to entice them to cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan,” Markey said. “Without a coherent U.S. strategy to push back, Taiwan’s official partners might drop from 17 to zero. We must stand up for our friends in Taiwan.”
“As Taiwan’s closest international partner, the United States must not waiver on our enduring commitment to the wellbeing of the people of Taiwan, to their security through diplomacy, and to their ability to defend and protect their future,” Menendez said. “As China continues its quest for dominance through predatory diplomatic and economic practices, this new legislation serves as a recommitment by the United States Congress to a comprehensive, durable and mutually beneficial US-Taiwan relationship and partnership and affirmation of Taiwan’s place in the international community. The Trump administration should join our effort to send a clear message to those being bullied by China’s expansionist agenda that the United States continues to be a reliable and long term partner for our allies and our neighbors.”
Last month, Rubio and Gardner brought out an amendment restricting American support to El Salvador after that nation cut ties with Taiwan.
U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., the chairman of the U.S. House Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee, also weighed in on the matter after El Salvador ended relations with Taiwan.
“El Salvador’s switch of diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China is deeply troubling,” Yoho said last month. “For the third time this year, a nation has been bought off by China. Not only has China bought one of Taiwan’s remaining 18 allies, but it is gaining alliances in our backyard. China is taking advantage of these countries to isolate Taiwan further and build influence in Latin America.
“The United States and like-minded countries cannot and should not wait much longer to prevent China’s reach,” Yoho added. “China is actively pursuing Taiwan’s remaining allies through diplomatic and economic coercion. We cannot stand idly by, while China bullies its way into power. China’s harmful practices need to be stopped before they spread further.”