By Stacy Hsu and Lee Hsin-Yin
Washington, Nov. 25 (CNA) Two U.S. House representatives introduced a bipartisan bill earlier this week, which seeks to help Taiwan develop relations with other countries amid China's coercive actions designed to isolate the country.
The Promoting Ties with Taiwan Act, which was introduced on Nov. 23 by Republican Michelle Fischbach and Democrat Scott Peters, aims to make it the policy of the U.S. government to use its diplomatic influence and reputation to help Taiwan expand connections with nations and partners around the world.
The bill would require the U.S. secretary of state to develop a strategy to help Taiwan foster new bonds of friendship and trade connections around the world to prevent its isolation, the representatives said.
Within 180 days after the passage of the bill, for instance, the secretary of state would be required to submit a strategy to Congress, including an evaluation of staffing and other resources needed to implement the new policy on Taiwan.
Within one year of the submission of the strategy, the secretary of state must submit a report to Congress detailing actions taken to carry out the strategy, according to the act, which has won support from 13 House representatives across party lines.
"Taiwan is a valued friend and an important trading partner for the United States. I'm proud to propose concrete steps that our government can take towards encouraging similar relationships between Taiwan and other countries around the world," said Fischbach.
"Peace in the Taiwan Strait is an enduring security interest for the United States, Taiwan, allies, and partners committed to a rules-based international order that promotes the prosperity and interests of all," said Peters.
The representatives argued that once Taiwan is isolated and weakened, it would be easy prey for a Chinese invasion.
They noted that Taiwan, which has full diplomatic ties with 15 nations and economic and cultural missions in over 50 nations, is increasingly isolated as Beijing has succeeded in recent years in pressuring several countries into switching diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.
In addition, they said, Lithuania announced in July that it would open a Taiwanese Representative Office in its capital and has since faced incredible pressure including threats of economic sanctions from Beijing.
The representatives said they hoped the bill would build on the foundation of the TAIPEI Act of 2019 passed by Congress, which also aimed to support Taiwan's international presence.
The Promoting Ties with Taiwan Act is currently being reviewed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and needs to be approved by the committee and Congress before it can be signed into law by the president.