Taiwan Bills in the Congress
If passed, the Taiwan Fellowship Act will allow 10 U.S. federal government employees each year to
- Work with their Taiwanese counterparts that most relevant to their home agencies.
- Receive one year of intensive Mandarin language training.
As US-Taiwan high-level exchanges are rather limited, we consider the working-level exchanges is extremely conducive to enhancing mutual understanding and cooperation between the two countries.
If this legislation becomes law, Taiwan would be only the second country in the world to enjoy such a cooperative partnership program with the United States. Therefore, we feel that this bill is very much complementary to the Taiwan Travel Act which FAPA successfully promoted.
While aiming to boost the U.S. capability to counter China’s growing aggression on the international stage, the S.1169 also has several pro-Taiwan provisions:
- Recognizes Taiwan as “a vital part of the United States Indo-Pacific strategy.”
- Calls to reinforce commitments to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act and Six Assurances, including helping Taiwan execute asymmetric defense strategy and conducting regular arms sales to Taiwan.
- Require the State Department and other government agencies to engage with the government of Taiwan as the U.S. Government does with other foreign governments.
Several amendments also made it into the bill, including:
- Taiwan Fellowship Act: Create a civil servant training and cooperation initiative between Taiwan and the U.S.
- Reassurance for Official Contacts Act: Allow Taiwanese diplomats and service members to display their flag and wear their uniforms while on official business in the United States.
- Sponsor: Rep. Meeks, Gregory W. [D-NY-5] (Introduced 05/25/2021)
- Cosponsors: (0)
- Committees: House – Foreign Affairs; Financial Services; Ways and Means; Judiciary; Intelligence (Permanent Select)
- Latest Action: House – 07/15/2021 Ordered to be Reported in the Nature of a Substitute (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 26 – 22. (All Actions)
- Status: Introduced
The bill’s main purpose is to strengthen U.S. ability in technology and strategic competition against China. It also contains multiple pro-Taiwan provisions:
- Enhancing the United States-Taiwan partnership: Support for Taiwan’s defense, Taiwan’s role in the US approach to Indo-Pacific, and US-Taiwan bilateral trade agreement.
- Taiwan Fellowship Act: create a civil servant training and cooperative initiative between Taiwan and the U.S.
- Diplomatic and economic efforts to deter PRC use of force against Taiwan: counter China’s use of force against Taiwan with “significant economic and diplomatic measures.”
Several Amendments also made it to the bill:
- Sec. 209. Taiwan diplomatic review. (H.R. 3972)
- Sec. 210. Taiwan Peace and Stability Act. (H.R.3634)
- Sec. 211. Taiwan International Solidarity Act. (H.R.2646)
- Sec. 212. Taiwan Fellowship Program. (S.811, H.R.3084)
The Taiwan Partnership Act would establish the sense of Congress that the United States should continue to support the development of capable, ready, and modern defense forces for Taiwan to maintain its self-defense by:
- Developing a partnership program between the U.S. National Guard and Taiwan;
- Increasing exchanges between senior defense officials and general officers of the U.S. and Taiwan to improve interoperability, improve Taiwan’s reserve forces, and expand humanitarian and disaster relief cooperation;
- Expanding Taiwan’s capability to conduct security activities, including traditional combatant commands, cooperation with the National Guard, and multilateral activities;
- And requiring an annual report by the Secretary of Defense on the cooperation between the National Guard and Taiwan.
The bill is based on two key testimonies by U.S. military officials, Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John Aquilino and Former Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Phil Davidson in March 2021 on the threat of a PRC invasion of Taiwan.
The bill would make a clear statement of policy on U.S. defense policy towards Taiwan: “it shall be the policy of the United States to maintain the ability of the United States Armed Forces to deny a fait accompli by the People’s Republic of China against Taiwan.”
- Create an Interagency Taiwan Policy Task Force;
- Require Senate confirmation for the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan;
- Establish the US-Taiwan Cultural Exchange Foundation;
- Include Taiwan in bilateral and multilateral military training exercises;
- Develop strategies to counter CCP’s sharp power against Taiwan;
- Negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan.
- Sponsor: Sen. Cruz, Ted [R-TX] (Introduced 03/24/2021)
- Cosponsors: (9) [R: 9]
Original cosponsors: Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
- Committees: Senate – Foreign Relations
- Latest Action: Senate – 03/24/2021 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. (All Actions)
The support for defense cooperation with Taiwan is critical to the national security of the United States, the bill, if enacted into law, would include Taiwan into the so-called “NATO Plus” group, which currently includes Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, and New Zealand.
The members of “NATO Plus” group are drawn from the 17 countries that have been designated under U.S. law as “major non-NATO allies” (MNNA), which are eligible for a range of defense-related privileges with the United States. Taiwan has been treated as a major non-NATO ally under the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY 2003 (Pub. L. 107–228), although it is not formally designated as such.
The Taiwan PLUS Act would improve Taiwan’s military capabilities against China and treat Taiwan as a country in all relevant laws and regulations for a five-year period. Every five years, the Secretary of State would have the authority to extend the measure if it is found to serve the U.S. national security interest.
- Sponsor: Rep. Tiffany, Thomas P. [R-WI-7] (Introduced 02/26/2021)
- Cosponsors: (4) [R: 4]
Rep. Perry, Scott [R-PA-10]*
- Committees: House – Foreign Affairs; Ways and Means
- Latest Action: House – 02/26/2021 Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned. (All Actions)
- Status: Introduced
Reschenthaler, Guy [R-PA-14]
- Cosponsors: (7) [R: 7]
- Committees: House – Foreign Affairs; Armed Services; Ways and Means
- Latest Action: House – 02/18/2021 Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Armed Services, and Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of… (All Actions)
- Status: Introduced
The Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act seeks to reverse U.S. long-held strategic ambiguity towards the defense to Taiwan. This Act also proposes several concrete policy initiatives that are critical to bilateral defense cooperation.
Perry, Scott [R-PA-10]
- Cosponsors: (0)
- Committees: House – Foreign Affairs
- Latest Action: House – 02/18/2021 Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. (All Actions)
- Status: Introduced
This bill directs the United States to withhold all contributions to the United Nations (UN) until (1) China’s World Health Organization membership is terminated, and (2) Taiwan is granted full membership in the UN.
This bill prohibits the use of federal funds to seek U.S. membership in the World Health Organization (WHO), or to make contributions to the WHO, until the President makes certain certifications to Congress.
Specifically, the prohibition shall apply until the President certifies that the WHO (1) has adopted reforms to ensure that humanitarian assistance is not politicized; (2) is not under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and is not involved in a cover-up of the CCP’s response to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic; (3) has granted observer status to Taiwan; (4) does not divert humanitarian or medical supplies to Iran, North Korea, or Syria; and (5) has put in place mechanisms to increase transparency and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse.