China called the announcement a “wrong signal” of support for “separatist forces” in Taipei and predicts “extremely serious consequences” if the bill, which still needs to be voted on by both chambers, is passed.

A US Senate committee took the first step on Wednesday for the United States to directly provide billions of dollars in military aid to Taiwan, bolstering its support in response to rising tensions with Beijing. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Taiwan Policy Bill, to deliver $4.5 billion in military aid over four years to the island, which has bought equipment from Washington for decades.

China described this bill this Thursday (09.15.2022) as a “wrong signal” of support for “separatist forces” in Taiwan. If it goes ahead, “it will largely shake the political foundations of the relationship between China and the United States, and will have extremely serious consequences” on “peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Mao Ning, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

For him, the US bill “violates the principle of one China.” This policy defends that there is only one Chinese nation and implies that any country that wants to establish relations with Beijing must break its diplomatic ties with Taipei. At the beginning of the month, Mao Ning himself protested Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan. On the other hand, the office of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also expressed its “sincere gratitude” to the United States “for once again demonstrating its bipartisan friendship and support for Taiwan.” The country fears a Chinese invasion.

The most important revision of the policy towards Taiwan

The US text would also require the US president to impose sanctions on major Chinese financial institutions in response to any “escalation of hostile acts toward Taiwan” and grant the island the status of a “major non-NATO ally.” “This is the most significant review of US policy toward Taiwan” since 1979, when Washington recognized Beijing while agreeing to maintain Taiwan’s self-defense capability, said Senators Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham, who are behind the bill.

A US Senate delegation recently visited Taiwan. The text of the bill, approved by 17 votes in favor and only 5 against, must now be approved in the full Senate and then in the House of Representatives, before being signed into law by President Joe Biden.

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