Washington’s TAIPEI Act will not solve Taiwan’s problems

Taiwan needs a new approach to counter China's campaign to isolate it internationally.

Al Jazeera
Date: Novembe 16, 2019
By: Gary Sands

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a news conference at the National Palace during her one-day visit to Haiti, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, July 13, 2019 [Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters]

In the past few weeks, the US Senate and the House of Representatives passed similar versions of an act aiming to strengthen Taiwan's standing in the world and curb China's attempts to further isolate the island, which has been de-facto independent since 1950.

Beijing considers Taiwan a wayward province that must return to the mainland fold, by force if necessary. It insists that nations cannot have official relations with both China and Taiwan, with the result that Taiwan has formal diplomatic ties with only a small number of countries.

The Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, which is expected to be finalised in Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump in the coming days, is calling for Washington to increase "its economic, security, and diplomatic engagement with nations that have demonstrably strengthened, enhanced, or upgraded relations with Taiwan;" while reducing its engagement with "nations that take serious or significant actions to undermine Taiwan".

With the act, Taiwan's allies in the US Congress are hoping to convince the remaining 15 countries that maintain official diplomatic ties with the island to resist Beijing's attempts to woo them with economic incentives and continue their support for Taipei on the international arena.

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