US Senate Passes Taiwan Travel Act

04 March, 2018, 02:04 | Author: Katrina Soto
  • Chinese mainland promotes cross Strait exchanges cooperation with Taiwan

President Donald Trump's signature is now all that is needed for the bill to become law - something that is not likely to be an obstacle, given that the bill was passed unanimously. The bill allows high-level Taiwanese officials to enter the USA "under respectful conditions".

Cross-strait relations have soured since Tsai became president in 2016 and refused to accept the one-China policy. Just $5 a month.

The legislation states that it will be USA policy to permit visits to Taiwan by "cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials" to meet Taiwanese counterparts. The act is believed to clear the way for the top leaders of Taiwan to come to DC, including President Tsai Ing-wen.

He called the act only a symbolic change in Taiwan-US relations. In other words, the Trump administration can argue that Congress has forced its hand on the issue.

President Trump angered China early previous year by accepting a congratulatory call from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen.

And at a news conference in Taipei, the capital, two former presidents called for a referendum in April 2019 on whether to replace the Republic of China, which has been the island's government since 1945, with a Republic of Taiwan - a move that Beijing has warned would lead to war.

"China is strongly dissatisfied with this and resolutely opposes it, and has already lodged stern representations with the United States side", Hua said in a daily press briefing on Thursday.

China, meanwhile, was predictably displeased.

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Lee, a conservative Republican, said the measure can help Congress reassert its power over foreign policy decision-making. Under the Constitution, Congress - not the president - has the authority to declare war.

A spokesman for the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, An Fengshan, said the Taiwan Travel Act violates the "one-China principle" under which China regards Taiwan as a part of Chinese territory, along with three communiques signed by Washington and Beijing, reports AP.

Ji Ye, a Taiwan affairs specialist from Xiamen University, said the bill would negatively impact Sino-US ties because it harms Beijing's interests and goes against the one-China policy.

"China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposes it", Hua said.

The United States should "stop pursuing any official ties with Taiwan or improving its current relations with Taiwan in any substantive way", she said.

She described the principle as the foundation of US-China relations.

"It must handle Taiwan-related issues cautiously and properly so as to avoid causing any major disruption or damage to the China-U.S. relations", Hua told reporters. Many support the removal of Chiang's likeness from Taiwan's currency and of his name from roads and schools, as well as the repurposing of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, one of Taipei's biggest tourist sites. Taipei did not specify that the annual drill simulated an invasion by China, but said it was meant to "show determination to safeguard peace in the Taiwan Strait and national security".

Against that backdrop, Beijing may respond more forcefully to attempts to advance ties between the United States and Taiwan.

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