Menendez, Graham introduce bipartisan bill in support of Taiwan

by Will Tubbs

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


Two senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have introduced a bipartisan bill that they say will be a comprehensive restructuring of the United States’ relationship with Taiwan.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the committee’s chair, joined with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to create the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, which would create a $4.5 billion initiative aimed at upgrading Taiwan’s defense capabilities.

“I’m very pleased to be working with Senator Menendez to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship,” Graham said in a statement. “Our bill is the largest expansion of the military and economic relationship between our two countries in decades. When it comes to Taiwan, our response should be that we are for democracy and against communist aggression. We live in dangerous times. China is sizing up America and our commitment to Taiwan.  The danger will only grow worse if we show weakness in the face of Chinese threats and aggression toward Taiwan.  I’m hopeful we will receive large bipartisan support for our legislation and that the Biden Administration will sign on in support.”

The bill will also offer additional support for Taiwan’s democratic government and aid Taiwan’s participation in international organizations and trade.

Perhaps most important, certainly so in the immediate, the bill would seek to counter China’s ever-more-aggressive posturing in the region.

To achieve this, the bill would designate Taiwan as one of a Major Non-NATO Ally, which a press release from the senators described as “a powerful symbol that provides our closest global partners with additional benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation.”

“As Beijing continues to seek to coerce and isolate Taiwan there should be no doubt or ambiguity about the depth and strength of our determination to stand with the people of Taiwan and their democracy,” Menendez said in a statement. “The Taiwan Policy Act of 2022 represents a seminal statement of the United States’ absolute commitment to stand with Taiwan and all those who share our interests and our values in the Indo-Pacific in the face of Beijing’s military, economic, and diplomatic threats and bullying.”

The announcement of the bill followed a recent uptick in violent rhetoric from the People’s Republic of China. Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said China would “not hesitate to start a war” with Taiwan or to “smash [it] to smithereens.”

It was not lost on Menendez or Graham that China was behaving now as Russia had in the months leading up to its invasion of Ukraine.

“The United States and our partners have a critical window of opportunity to reinvigorate our diplomatic strategy,” Menendez said, “to assure cross-Strait stability and security and to work with Taipei to modernize their military; embed them in the region’s economic architecture; combat Beijing’s political influence and misinformation campaigns; and develop deeper ties between our two peoples. I thank Senator Graham for working with me on this landmark legislation to send a clear message to Beijing not to make the same mistakes with Taiwan that Vladimir Putin has made in Ukraine.”