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U.S. House of Representatives Passes Taiwan Bills

Jan 15 , 2018

Early this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills related to Taiwan, drawing a strong denouncement from Beijing. One of these bills, The Taiwan Travel Act, calls for an increase in visits between senior officials from Washington and Taiwan. The other bill supports Taiwan's inclusion in the World Health Organization. 

Since President Trump took office, Taiwan has been an issue of contention between China and the United States. While still president-elect, Trump took a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan's leader, Tsai Ing-wen, and since his election has questioned the United States' support of the One China Policy. On Thursday, Chinese officials urged the U.S. to handle the Taiwan issue carefully. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said, "The passage of the two bills seriously violates the principles of the one-China policy and three Sino-U.S. joint communiques." Zhu Songling, a China-US Focus contributor, argued recently that "should the Taiwan Travel Act indeed become law, China-U.S. relations will be seriously harmed."

American companies have also been in the spotlight this week for Taiwan-related incidents. Delta Airlines faced criticism from the Chinese aviation regulator for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website. The company was quick to apologize, saying the issue was "an inadvertent error with no business or political intention." Marriott International, the hotel group, also apologized this week after it listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as individual nations in an online survey.

Ted Galen Carpenter described China's patience with Taiwan as "fraying," arguing in an article for China-US Focus that "Americans need to consider what level of risk they are willing to take to defend Taiwan." Should these bills be signed into law, it would mark a fundamental shift in Washington's foreign policy.

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