The Act is unlikely to achieve its stated goal of expanding Taiwan’s diplomatic space.
Date: November 13, 2019
By: Jansen Tham
The Act represents American lawmakers’ carrots-and-sticks approach to counter Chinese coercion against Taiwan, which today has just 15 diplomatic allies. Seven countries have broken off relations with Taipei in favor of Beijing since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016. The TAIPEI Act involves the United States enhancing “economic, security, and diplomatic engagement” with countries that have “strengthened, enhanced or upgraded relations with Taiwan,” while also punitively reducing U.S. engagement with countries whose actions “undermine Taiwan.”
Other provisions in the Act include calling on the U.S. administration to advocate for Taiwan’s membership in “international organizations in which statehood is not a requirement” and for Taiwan to be granted observer status in international bodies where formal recognition is a prerequisite. It further proposes signing a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement.
Given the bipartisan support for Taiwan in Congress and the broad anti-China sentiment in Washington, the bill will almost certainly be passed into law. This follows closely on the heels of the Taiwan Travel Act – another piece of legislation that displays Washington’s support for Taipei – passed in March this year. [FULL STORY]