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ROC Central News Agency

U.S. House passes bill to strengthen support for Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

03/23/2023 11:41 AM

Washington, March 22 (CNA) The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a piece of legislation that would require the State Department to regularly review the guidelines for exchanges with Taiwan.

The Taiwan Assurance Implementation Act, introduced on Feb. 24 by Representative Ann Wagner, was approved that day in an overwhelming 404-7 vote.

The bill, which amends the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2020, requires that the U.S. State Department periodically conduct reviews of its guidelines for engagement with Taiwan, and submit a report to Congress at least once every two years to strengthen the governing body's supervision of U.S.-Taiwan relations.

It also asks that the U.S. secretary of state identify opportunities to lift any remaining self-imposed limitations on U.S.-Taiwan engagement and articulate a plan to do so.

According to Wagner, who is also vice chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the bill was introduced to "reinforce Congressional oversight on U.S.-Taiwan relations and ensure that changes in U.S. policies towards Taiwan are aimed at deepening and enhancing this important relationship."

In a release issued Wednesday by her office, she mentioned that for decades, most senior U.S. executive branch officials, including high-ranking military officers, were banned from visiting Taiwan to appease China, while similarly, Taiwan's top leadership could not travel to the United States.

Meetings and correspondence between U.S. officials and their Taiwanese counterparts had to meet a long list of complicated and arbitrary requirements, such as holding meetings at hotels rather than in official federal buildings or asking Taiwanese officials not to wear any official uniforms or insignia, Wagner said.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, she said, declared all of these guidelines null and void in January 2021, but many of these restrictions have since been put back in place by the current administration under U.S. President Joe Biden.

The lawmaker said Biden's bureaucratic red tape harms that stance, undermining the United States' ability to coordinate more closely with Taiwan.

With the House approval on Wednesday, the Taiwan Assurance Implementation Act will also need to be passed by the Senate, before it can be handed over to President Biden for his approval and signature into law.

(By Stacy Hsu and Ko Lin)


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