US senators propose bill to speed up transfer of European weapons to Taiwan

Washington, May 24 (CNA) Two US senators on Friday introduced a bill to facilitate Europe’s transfer of US-made weapons to Taiwan to encourage closer cooperation between European countries and Taipei .

Working across party lines, Republican Senator Pete Ricketts and Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen proposed the “Building Options for the Lasting Security of Taiwan through European Resolve (BOLSTER) Act.”

The Bolster Act aims to create a mechanism for European NATO countries to more easily transfer U.S.-origin defense equipment to support Taiwan’s self-defense, Ricketts said in a statement.

The bill came as China launched a massive two-day military exercise in and around the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, shortly after President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) of the Democratic Progressive Party was sworn in Monday.

The act directs the Secretary of State to establish an expedited decision-making process for third-party transfers of defense aircraft and services from NATO countries to Taiwan within less than 90 days of the implementation of the legislation.

To prevent China from occupying any territory controlled by Taiwan, violating Taiwan’s territorial integrity, and taking significant action against Taiwan, including a naval blockade, the law directs the State Department’s Coordination Office and the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury shall conduct regular consultations with the International Special Envoy for the Implementation of Sanctions of the European Union and relevant government officials of European countries.

By law, not later than 180 days after enactment of the legislation, the Secretary of State must provide a briefing to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee bedroom. Representatives and the House Armed Services Committee regarding discussions with the governments of European NATO countries on contributions to Taiwan’s self-defense.

Contributions will include transfers and sales of arms, in particular weapons consistent with an asymmetric defense strategy, and increasing the military presence of these European NATO countries in the Indo-Pacific region, specifies the law.

Under the law, the United States and European countries should discuss how to provide humanitarian aid to Taiwan in the event of a blockade, quarantine, or military invasion of Taiwan by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). from China.

The law also requires the US president to submit reports to Congress on assessing the economic impact resulting from China’s military actions against Taiwan, including the impact on global trade and production, and to name 10 sectors economies that would be most disrupted by a prolonged blockade of Taiwan. by the PLA.

“President Xi (Jinping) has made clear his intention to take Taiwan by force if necessary. This must be avoided at all costs,” Ricketts said in the statement.

“The BOLSTER Act encourages stronger European support for Taiwan and strengthens sanctions coordination to deter PRC hostilities toward Taiwan,” Ricketts added.

“All who believe in freedom and democracy, including our partners in Europe, must oppose PRC aggression. That means strengthening ties with Taiwan and making sure Xi understands that an attack on Taiwan will have serious consequences,” he said.

Additionally, the law also includes a “Sense of Congress” resolution that calls on the United States and European countries to counter Chinese propaganda and false narratives about UN Resolution 2758.

Through Congress, the two U.S. lawmakers urged European countries, especially countries with experience countering Russia’s aggression and malign activities, to provide Taiwan with lessons learned from their programs of “total defense” to mobilize soldiers and civilians in times of crisis. .

Resolution 2758 was adopted by the 26th United Nations General Assembly in 1971 to resolve the issue of China’s representation in the United Nations system. This ultimately led to the withdrawal of Taiwan, officially called the Republic of China, from the UN and in its place the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The resolution adopted on October 25, 1971 recognized the PRC as “the sole legitimate representative of China.”

However, the governments of Taiwan and the United States have repeatedly argued that the resolution does not mention Taiwan, does not declare Taiwan to be part of the PRC, and does not explicitly authorize Beijing to represent Taiwan in the United Nations system .

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