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house Bill H.R. 2002

Should U.S.-Taiwan Relations be Enhanced?

Argument in favor

The U.S. relationship with Taiwan is based on shared values of democracy and respect for the rule of law. It’s important for the U.S. to deepen its relationship with Taiwan in order to afford Taiwanese diplomats proper respect and support Taiwan against China’s aggression.

Jim2423's Opinion
···
05/06/2019
We are all well aware China would love to get Formosa back. Similar to getting Hong Kong returned. The only difference is Hong Kong was under British rule and Formosa is Independent. We have been together since the end of WWII. So yes renew our alliance.
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burrkitty's Opinion
···
05/06/2019
The one China policy is idiotic and always has been. It has been OVER A HUNDRED YEARS FFS! It’s in flagrant denial of reality to think that those two countries are EVER getting back together without a full war. Just like North and South Korea. Both China and Taiwan need to accept that their relationship has changed and move on. Taiwan is its own country. China is too. In 2015 President Xi met the island’s then-president, Ma Ying-jeou, for what would have looked to innocent eyes very much like a bilateral summit of heads of state. And China looks the other way, albeit with some fulmination, when America sells arms to Taiwan—a traffic which, in 1982, America said it would phase out, but continues to this day. We all know they are not getting back together. Denialism gets everyone nowhere really fast. I don’t support continuing this fictional story of “One China” Taiwan is NOT China and China is NOT Taiwan. Yes they have a history, but we also used to be British. Things change.
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Steve's Opinion
···
05/06/2019
Taiwan needs to be recognized as an individual nation with sovereign rights the same as other countries. They can then resolve their own issues with the PRC.
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Argument opposed

Deepening the U.S.-Taiwan relationship risks adding further strain to the U.S.-China relationship at a key time in negotiations to come to an agreement to end the current trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

Kodiwodi's Opinion
···
05/06/2019
Is there any flipping country with which the US won’t risk war? Now this administration wants to piss off China even more than they have already. Whether you call it Formosa or Liúqiú, Taiwan is still officially named the Republic of China and has been for decades. I would agree with this if the bill was to improve our trade relationship but that is not it’s intent. This is about arms sales! This is about the US getting a strategic military advantage in the ROC to be in readiness for attacks involving the People’s Republic of China. The US only wants to continue the dispute over who owns this country although this was settled in the 70’s, through more military solutions. Do we honestly believe mainland China won’t object and respond? This will only give China more reason to try out their million man army to the regret of the US and Taiwan. How about diplomacy with all involved.
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Hillary's Opinion
···
05/06/2019
The US needs to improve its relations with every country. Taiwan has been a trade partner. The US should be doing what it can to ensure workers rights there and everywhere we trade.
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Steve's Opinion
···
05/06/2019
No, it would make negotiating with China in the future alot more difficult and potentially impossible.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedApril 1st, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2002?

This bill — the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019 — would enhance engagement between the U.S. and Taiwan. It’d require the State Dept. to review its guidance to other executive branch agencies regarding how to conduct U.S.-Taiwan relations, reissue that guidance, and report back to Congress on the results of its review and the implementation of recent related legislation.

To deepen U.S.-Taiwan engagement, this bill would:

  • Mandate that the president conduct a review of the State Department's guidelines on U.S. relations with Taiwan;
  • Direct the Secretary of Defense to make efforts to include Taiwan in bilateral and multilateral military training exercises;
  • Require that a flag or general officer serve as the U.S. defense attaché in Taipei;
  • State that the U.S.  will continue to advocate for Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations; and
  • Express Congressional support for Taiwan's asymmetric defense strategy, regular U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and the resumption of bilateral trade talks between the U.S. and Taiwan.

This bill does not seek to re-establish diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Taiwan — it would merely seek to have Washington treat, and engage with, Taipei as it would any other diplomatic partner. This bill specifically states that relations with Taipei should be handled in accordance with the Three Joint Comminiqués and the “One China” policy.

Impact

Foreign policy; Taiwan; China; State Dept.; and U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2002

The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost less than $500,000 in 2019.

More Information

In-DepthHouse Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX) introduced this bill to enhance engagement between the U.S. and Taiwan to deepen their shared relationship:

“When the Taiwan Relations Act was signed into law forty years ago, it built an unshakeable foundation for the United States relationship with Taiwan. In the decades since, Taiwan has developed into a critical U.S. partner and a beacon of democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law in a region threatened by authoritarian hegemony. However, our critical relationship with Taiwan is being needlessly constrained by excessive restrictions, driven by communist China’s bullying. The Taiwan Assurance Act will ensure that our partnership with Taiwan is based on the relationship’s own merits—cutting red tape and building on the foundation the TRA gave us. I’m proud to bring forward these bipartisan measures with Chairman Engel as we approach this historic 40th anniversary.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, adds:

“Taiwan has a vibrant, pluralistic democracy, and is an indispensable partner in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. In the four decades since the signing of the landmark Taiwan Relations Act, Taiwan has demonstrated what it means to be a model global citizen, making substantial contributions on issues ranging from global health, to combating terrorism, to investing in sustainable and equitable economic growth at home and abroad. As we mark this important milestone, I’m happy to join with Ranking Member McCaul in offering legislation to make it crystal clear: the United States commitment to Taiwan, undergirded by the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances, remains as ironclad today as it was 40 years ago.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who sponsors this bill’s Senate companion, adds:

“Taiwan is a vital democratic partner of the United States. 40 years after the Taiwan Relations Act was signed into law, our bilateral ties should reflect this reality. This legislation would deepen bilateral security, economic, and cultural relations, while also sending a message that China's aggressive cross-Strait behavior will not be tolerated.”

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) notes that the current State Dept. guidelines have “long inhibited smooth bilateral relations” between the U.S. and Taiwan, as State Dept. officials can’t meet with Taiwanese counterparts in executive office buildings and, therefore, can’t treat Taiwanese dignitaries with the formalities and honors granted to other foreign visitors. AEI says this “denies [Taiwanese dignitaries] dignity without meaningfully advancing US interests in Asia.” AEI argues that a more normal relationship with Taiwan has “both symbolic and substantial value,” as treating Taiwan as a normal diplomatic partner emphasizes the U.S.’ commitment to the island’s de facto independence and can help dispel doubts in Beijing that Washington would actually aid Taipei in a crisis.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has expressed Taiwan’s appreciation for this bill. It’s also said that it’ll continue promoting the “cooperative partnership” between Taiwan and the U.S. In another statement, Taiwan’s representative office in the U.S. expressed appreciation to Congress for supporting Taiwan's sovereignty, freedom and democracy amid China's provocation.

Were this bill to pass, it’d anger Beijing as the U.S. and China work towards a possible deal to end a month-long tariff dispute. Taiwan is a major flashpoint between the U.S. and China, as China has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan, which it considers a wayward province of “one China” and sacred Chinese territory.

The Chinese government has been vocal about its desire to reunify Taiwan and China. In a January 2, 2019 speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan,” a policy document issued by the National People’s Congress on the day China and the U.S. formally established relations after Washington broke ties with Taiwan on January 1, 1979, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Taiwanese officials to work with Mainland Chinese officials to realize the “historic task” of complete reunification. Xi said:

“It is a historical conclusion drawn over 70 years of development of cross-strait relations, and a must for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era. It’s a legal fact that both sides of the Strait belong to one China, and cannot be changed by anyone or any force.”

This bill passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee by a voice vote with 22 bipartisan House cosponsors, including 18 Republicans and four Democrats. A Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) with the support of five bipartisan cosponsors (including three Democrats and two Republicans), has also been introduced.

When they introduced this bill, Reps. McCaul and Engel also introduced House Resolution 273, which reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and the implementation of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) of 1979. Both pieces of legislation were introduced on April 2, 2019, ahead of the TRA’s fortieth anniversary on April 10, 2019.


Of NoteThe  U.S. relationship with Taiwan is defined by the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), passed by Congress in 1979, which authorized continued “commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan” after the U.S. established diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China. The TRA mandates special American obligations and commitments to Taiwan, and is the only legal underpinning of U.S. policy toward Taiwan. Under the TRA, the U.S. doesn’t have formal ties with Taiwan, but is bound by law to help defend the island nation and is its main source of arms. According to the Pentagon, the U.S. has sold Taiwan over $15 billion in weaponry since 2010.


Media:

AKA

Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019

Official Title

To foster security in Taiwan, and for other purposes.

    We are all well aware China would love to get Formosa back. Similar to getting Hong Kong returned. The only difference is Hong Kong was under British rule and Formosa is Independent. We have been together since the end of WWII. So yes renew our alliance.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    Is there any flipping country with which the US won’t risk war? Now this administration wants to piss off China even more than they have already. Whether you call it Formosa or Liúqiú, Taiwan is still officially named the Republic of China and has been for decades. I would agree with this if the bill was to improve our trade relationship but that is not it’s intent. This is about arms sales! This is about the US getting a strategic military advantage in the ROC to be in readiness for attacks involving the People’s Republic of China. The US only wants to continue the dispute over who owns this country although this was settled in the 70’s, through more military solutions. Do we honestly believe mainland China won’t object and respond? This will only give China more reason to try out their million man army to the regret of the US and Taiwan. How about diplomacy with all involved.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    The one China policy is idiotic and always has been. It has been OVER A HUNDRED YEARS FFS! It’s in flagrant denial of reality to think that those two countries are EVER getting back together without a full war. Just like North and South Korea. Both China and Taiwan need to accept that their relationship has changed and move on. Taiwan is its own country. China is too. In 2015 President Xi met the island’s then-president, Ma Ying-jeou, for what would have looked to innocent eyes very much like a bilateral summit of heads of state. And China looks the other way, albeit with some fulmination, when America sells arms to Taiwan—a traffic which, in 1982, America said it would phase out, but continues to this day. We all know they are not getting back together. Denialism gets everyone nowhere really fast. I don’t support continuing this fictional story of “One China” Taiwan is NOT China and China is NOT Taiwan. Yes they have a history, but we also used to be British. Things change.
    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
    Taiwan needs to be recognized as an individual nation with sovereign rights the same as other countries. They can then resolve their own issues with the PRC.
    Like (14)
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    Recognize. Treaty.
    Like (10)
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    Absolutely. China needs to understand we support democracy, not communism.
    Like (9)
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    With the growing threat of China strengthening our relationships with not only Taiwan, India and other countries is vital to countering China’s growing threat. I’m fully supporting this bill. #MAGA
    Like (7)
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    China will try to do the same crap it did in Hong Kong. They promised the U.K. they would maintain democratic norms and then clamped down. Taiwan does not want to return to China which is why they left China in the first place.
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    The US needs to improve its relations with every country. Taiwan has been a trade partner. The US should be doing what it can to ensure workers rights there and everywhere we trade.
    Like (5)
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    Even though establishing closer relations with Taiwan will certainly get on China’s nerves, we need to recognize that Taiwan is a legitimate country separate from China. There’s no reason to not develop a closer relationship with the ROC. Unfortunately, many countries across the world along with China prefer to deny the reality that Taiwan is its own sovereign nation, but we shouldn’t be a part of this nonsense.
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    We should fully establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Taiwan is our friend, and China is our adversary.
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    If there can be a democratic and a Communist Korea then there can be a democratic and a Communist China. However, the ideal is democracy in all cases.
    Like (4)
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    This would be, however, anti-China.
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    We need to come out of Chinese dominance around the world and this is one good step forward to that end.
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    No, it would make negotiating with China in the future alot more difficult and potentially impossible.
    Like (3)
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    Taiwan is the only Free China. Mainland China is not our friend.
    Like (3)
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    Ideally, we should strive to enhance international relationships whenever and wherever possible, but not just out of strategic importance.
    Like (3)
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    Yes, they are a very important ally
    Like (3)
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    AYE!!! TAIWAN DESERVES OUR SUPPORT !!!!
    Like (3)
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    Taiwan is a thriving democracy and deserves our support. The communist party took over mainland China but could not take the portion now known as Taiwan. We should not award aggression by giving them the rest. Support a strong Taiwan.
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