The United States House of Representatives passes bills in support of Taiwan

The United States Capitol (File photo) The United States House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill reaffirming US commitment...

The United States Capitol (File photo)
The United States House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill reaffirming US commitment to Taiwan which is one of a growing number of sticking points in the US-China relationship.

The House voted 414-0 for a non-binding resolution on Tuesday and also backed by unanimous voice vote the “Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019.”

The Assurance Act calls on Taipei to increase its defense spending amid disputes with China which sees Taiwan as a wayward province under the globally-recognized “One China” policy.

China has pursued Taiwan’s reunification ever since the island broke away from the mainland during a civil war in 1949. China claims full sovereignty over the island; and almost all world countries, including the US, recognize that sovereignty.

However, Washington — which has no formal diplomatic relations with Taipei by law — has extensive military ties with Taiwan, selling advanced military hardware to the island.The House also said Tuesday that Washington should conduct “regular sales and defense articles” to Taiwan, noting it backs its participation in international organizations.

It was unclear when the Assurance Act might go to the Senate for a vote, which would be necessary before it could become law.

Both measures are symptomatic of US worry over any efforts by Beijing to influence Taiwan. Washington, under President Donald Trump, has opened a new de facto embassy in Taipei and passed a law to encourage senior US officials to travel to Taiwan to meet their counterparts and vice versa.

Chinese President Xi Jinxing warned in January that the use of force would remain an option for Beijing to bring Taiwan back under Chinese control.

The new development comes as Washington’s trade war with China has intensified after Trump threatened to impose tariffs on nearly all of the US-headed Chinese products, while announcing a dramatic increase in the tariffs, which are already in place.On Sunday, Trump said tariffs on $200 billion of goods would increase to 25 percent from 10 percent as soon as Friday, reversing a decision he had made in February to keep them at the 10 percent rate.

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