TAIPEI Act signals common stance between U.S., Taiwan: analysts

Taipei-The unanimous passage of the TAIPEI Act 2019 in the U.S. Senate is a reflection of a common stance between Washington and Taipei that both countries must team up to counter Beijing’s expansion, observers said Wednesday.

Beijing’s poaching of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies also hurts U.S. interests, making it a serious issue jointly faced by the United States and Taiwan, analysts said.

The act, which carries the full title of the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act of 2019, authorizes the U.S. State Department to consider “reducing its economic, security and diplomatic engagements with nations that take serious or significant actions to undermine Taiwan.”

The U.S. government should also help Taiwan gain participation in world bodies as a member or an observer, and express its support for Taiwan’s international participation when it interacts with Beijing, it said.

Lai I-chung (???), president of the Prospect Foundation, a Taipei think tank, told CNA that the act demonstrates strong support of the U.S. toward Taiwan at a time when Taiwan’s international space or national status is being substantially challenged by China.

Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are seriously concerned about China’s bullying of Taiwan in the international community, making it a common problem that Washington and Taipei must deal with jointly, he contended.

Lai stressed that “Taiwan must figure out what it wants” at a time when the U.S. is willing to help Taiwan maintain and explore its international presence. Taiwan needs to think out of the box to counter China’s efforts to isolate it in the international community, he argued.

If it is so difficult for Taiwan to join the United Nations, he suggested that the government forge an international setting with like-minded countries in which Taiwan can play host to world meetings.

Arthur Ding (???), an emeritus professor with National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations, said that “countering China” is the mainstream atmosphere in the U.S. Congress at the moment, and he predicted that President Donald Trump will definitely sign the TAIPEI Act into law.

Alexander Huang (???), a strategic studies professor at Tamkang University, said the passage of the act reflects a bi-partisan consensus across party lines in the U.S.

China’s poaching of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and boycotting of Taiwan’s participation in international organizations have also damaged U.S. interests in Latin America and the South Pacific, he pointed out.

The basic attitude of Washington now is to support Taiwan with more progressive measures to help stop Taiwan from being further eroded by China and to prevent another wave of losses of the country’s diplomatic allies, Huang said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel