Leer en Español
The White House issued a press release stating that President Donald Trump signed the 2021 budget appropriations bill and included a policy and support for Tibet and Taiwan. The law signed by Trump also deepens the goal of fostering relations between Taiwan and the United States.
America acknowledges democracy in Taiwan
With the law signed last Sunday, December 27th, the Trump administration continues to express its support for the Asian country’s defense strategy in the face of the growing threat from China. According to press reports, the law allows Taiwan to continue accessing U.S. military material “strengthening the country’s defense capabilities.”
According to the press, the law emphasizes U.S. support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the United Nations and its affiliates, security organizations such as the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and seeks to strengthen energy cooperation, network security and good governance in the two nations.
The project recommends a revision of “the State Department’s guidelines for exchanges with Taiwan. These guidelines, according to the signed law, instruct that the State Department’s protocols be “developed with the intention of deepening and expanding relations between the United States and Taiwan.”
This law paves the way for the State Department to maintain good relations with the Asian country, taking into account that Taiwan is under a democratic government, which is peacefully constituted “through transparent elections that reflect a free and open society that respects universality, human rights and democratic values.”
To that extent, the bill also allocates $3 million to develop the activities of the “U.S.-Taiwan Comprehensive Training and Cooperation Framework to promote public health, law enforcement, and disaster relief.”
This is the second time that the U.S. has supported relations with Taiwan in December. In the middle of the month, the United States and Taiwan signed a scientific cooperation agreement, which “will allow that relationship to deepen and grow significantly,” Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) told local media.
According to the media, the agreement provides an efficient legal structure that promotes “scientific research, technological innovation and ensures the integrity of research and intellectual property protection between both parties.
The agreement underscores Taiwan’s transparency in development and information matters, one of the requirements the Trump Administration has implemented to establish U.S. trade and diplomatic relations. For his part, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said that the progress made in foreign policy “demonstrates that the partnership between Taiwan and the U.S. is marked by a high level of mutual trust and close cooperation.”
Trump in defense of religious freedom
One of the Trump Administration’s major foreign policy commitments has been a strong defense of religious freedom, as secretary Mike Pompeo has repeatedly stated. The U.S. has been a great supporter of victims of totalitarian regimes that persecute religious minorities. In the case of Asia, Tibetans and Uyghur Muslims have been protected by the current administration from persecution by the Chinese Communist Party.
According to Reuters, the Tibetan Policy and Support Act states that “Chinese interference in the selection of the Dalai Lama’s successor will be perceived as a violation of Tibetan religious freedom, allowing the U.S. government to impose economic and visa sanctions on the Chinese officials involved.”
Tibetan Buddhists, like members of all religious communities, “must be able to select, educate and revere their religious leaders according to their traditions and without government interference,” Secretary Pompeo told reporters after the 31st birthday of Gendun Chökyi Nyima, the second most important spiritual authority in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama.
According to the press, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the second-most important Tibetan figure after the Dalai Lama, became the youngest political prisoner in the world when he was arrested “together with his parents at the age of 6,” in 1995, by the Chinese communist regime. Since then, there has been no news of his whereabouts.
On the other hand, the law signed by Trump insists that China cannot establish a new consular office in the U.S. until Washington is allowed to establish an office in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.
Finally, in order to strengthen the Tibetan community among the refugees, the U.S. allocated an $8 million fund for programs that promote Tibetan culture and language.
Beijing responds with threats
China has responded that it opposes the two acts signed by Washington and said that the implementation of them would damage relations with Beijing. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, told the press that “the determination of the Chinese government to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests is unwavering.
China has made a series of declarations in which it denounces that the U.S. interferes in the internal affairs not only of its territory, but also of its allies Cuba and Venezuela. This is after the international community’s and mainly the Trump Administration’s have ignored the past elections held by Nicolás Maduro’s regime.
Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán