Washington, Sep 14 (EFE).- A United States Senate committee on Wednesday approved legislation to considerably expand Washington’s military aid for Taiwan at a time of great tension with China over the sovereignty of the island.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022 with 17 votes in favor and only five against.
It will now be transferred to the plenary session and, if approved, would allocate to Taiwan security assistance of $4.5 billion for four years and designate it as a major non-NATO ally, among other things.
Washington says the proposal promotes the security of Taiwan, ensures regional stability and deters Chinese aggression against Taiwan, as well as imposing sanctions on Beijing for hostile action against Taiwan.
“The bill we are approving today makes clear the United States does not seek war or increased tensions with Beijing. Just the opposite. We are carefully and strategically lowering the existential threats facing Taiwan by raising the cost of taking the island by force so that it becomes too high a risk and unachievable,” committee chairman Bob Menendez said in a statement.
Just last week, China condemned the approval of the sale of a $1.1 billion weapons package to Taiwan announced last Friday and promised “countermeasures.”
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the sale would “gravely undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, severely harm China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and send a gravely wrong signal to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
She added that it would be a “blatant violation of the one-China principle.”
This policy forces countries maintaining diplomatic ties with Beijing to relinquish those with Taiwan.
But the US believes the arms deal complies with the policy and says it has a commitment to the island to provide military aid, although it never clarifies whether it would intervene in the event of a Chinese attack, a policy dubbed “strategic ambiguity.”
The US and China are experiencing heightened tension sparked by the recent visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The trip deeply angered the Chinese government, which responded with economic sanctions and military exercises in the waters surrounding Taiwan.
China views Taiwan as a rebel province with which it has not ruled out the use of force to achieve “reunification.” EFE