On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Democrat Bob Menéndez, proposed to provide more military aid to Taiwan and for the United States to designate the island as a NATO Strategic Non-Member Ally.
Menéndez explained his proposal in an article in The New York Times following Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, for which Beijing has announced retaliation.
Menéndez’s initiative, pushed together with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, seeks to provide $4.5 billion in military assistance to Taiwan over the next four years.
It also proposes recognizing the island as a military ally outside NATO, strengthening U.S.-Taiwan military and security ties, and facilitating Taipei’s participation in international organizations, Menendez said.
The United States has designated 19 countries as non-NATO strategic allies —Qatar and Colombia have been the last— granting them military and commercial privileges.
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Menéndez’s initiative also proposes imposing economic repercussions on Beijing if it takes hostile measures against Taiwan, such as financial or travel sanctions.
According to its proponent, it would be the most significant piece of legislation on U.S. foreign policy toward the island since the 1979 enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, which established Washington’s support for a ‘One China’ policy.
Pelosi concluded her less than a 24-hour visit to Taiwan on Wednesday. This trip has put China on the warpath and has resulted in trade sanctions and military maneuvers around the island by Beijing.
Pelosi’s visit—the third-highest U.S. authority and second in line for the White House— is the first by a Speaker of the House of Representatives to Taiwan since 1997, when Republican Newt Gingrich visited the island.