US Senators Introduce Bill to Help Taiwan Keep its Allies

September 6, 2018 Updated: September 6, 2018

WASHINGTON—Republican and Democratic U.S. senators introduced legislation on Sept. 5 to discourage Taiwan’s few remaining allies from switching their allegiance to China, after El Salvador became the third country this year to move toward Beijing.

The legislation was introduced by Republican senators Cory Gardner and Marco Rubio, and Democrats Ed Markey and Bob Menendez. It would authorize the State Department to downgrade U.S. relations with any government that shifts away from Taiwan, and to suspend or alter U.S. assistance.

It also requires a U.S. strategy to engage with governments to support Taiwan’s diplomatic recognition or strengthen unofficial ties with Taiwan.

Though Taiwan is a self-ruled island, Beijing considers it part of its territory, to one day be reunited with the mainland. In an effort to delegitimize Taiwan, Beijing has in recent months pressured other nations to only recognize “one China”: the one ruled by the Chinese Communist Party.

Gardner, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Asia subcommittee, discussed his plans for the legislation in an interview with Reuters.

The State Department had said the United States was “deeply disappointed” by El Salvador’s decision and was reviewing its relationship with San Salvador, without elaborating further.

Washington does not officially recognize Taipei diplomatically but considers it as a staunch ally in the Pacific Rim.

By Patricia Zengerle