US Congress votes first direct military aid to Taiwan – Liberation

The US Congress voted on Wednesday for the first direct aid from Washington to Taiwan, a decision denounced by Beijing, which sees it as a “bad signal”. The text still has to go through parliamentary stages before being promulgated by Joe Biden.

A key vote, immediately denounced by China. The US Congress voted on Wednesday for the first direct military aid to Taiwan. The vote was strongly denounced by Beijing, which sees it as a “bad sign” support for Taiwanese separatists. The bill, passed by the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, provides nearly $4.5 billion in military aid over the next four years.

“This is the most significant overhaul of American policy towards Taiwan” since 1979, when Washington recognized Beijing while agreeing to maintain the self-defense capacity of the island, assure senators Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham, at the head of this initiative. The text also requires the US president to impose sanctions on major Chinese financial institutions in response to any “escalation in hostile acts towards Taiwan”.

“Sincere Gratitude” from Taiwan

the “Taiwan Policy Act of 2022”as it is called, also plans to grant the island the status of“major ally outside NATO”. The office of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen announced Thursday its “sincere gratitude” towards the United States which, “once again demonstrated their bipartisan friendship and support for Taiwan”.

This vote in committee is only the first step in a long legislative process: the text must now be adopted in plenary session in the Senate, then in the House, before being promulgated by President Joe Biden. But it still marks a significant rapprochement between the United States and Taiwan, at a time when relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest in decades.

For its part, China reacted strongly on Thursday. A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Mao Ning, denounced “a bad sign” which supports “separatist forces campaigning for independence” of the island. “If it continues to be discussed, moved forward, or is ultimately passed, this bill will significantly shake the political foundations of China-US relations.”as well as regional security, she warned the press.

The White House is navigating this file with great caution. “We will continue to communicate directly with Congress on this text”, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said evasively on Wednesday. Before assuring that the Biden administration “would continue to deepen its partnership with Taiwan with strong diplomatic, economic and military support”.

Visit Nancy Pelosi

The vote in Congress comes just days after Washington sold $1.1 billion in arms to Taipei, and just over a month after a visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. which had angered Beijing. China had then launched the most important military maneuvers in its history around the island.

Before the visit of Nancy Pelosi, number three in the United States and the most senior American official to visit the island in decades, Joe Biden’s entourage had already quietly argued to China that it did not represent the administration policy, Congress being a separate branch of government. China considers Taiwan, with a population of some 23 million, to be one of its provinces, which it has not yet managed to reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War (1949 ). In seven decades, the communist army has never been able to conquer the island, which has remained under the control of the Republic of China – the regime that once ruled mainland China and now rules only Taiwan.

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