US House committee passes Taiwan Policy Act
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee recently passed the Taiwan Policy Act of 2011, which is now expected to reach a floor vote in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
The bill voices support for the signing of a Taiwan-U.S. extradition agreement, normal meetings between officials from the two sides, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.
The bill moved out of committee after the removal of the portion related to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which falls within the jurisdiction of the executive branch. This move is not expected to affect progress toward Taiwan’s inclusion in the program.
ROC President Ma Ying-jeou said March 27 while receiving a Project 2049 Institute delegation headed by former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage that Taiwan will likely be included in the waiver program by the second half of this year.
Taiwan-U.S. ties have entered a new stage, with the two sides launching dialogue in a low-key manner, and the U.S. government recently approving a US$18.3 billion arms sales package to Taiwan, the largest ever, Ma pointed out.
In addition to continuing to pursue cross-strait peace and prosperity as well as improved relations with the U.S., Ma said, his administration would work to meet conditions for entry to the Trans-Pacific Partnership entry within 10 years, to prevent Taiwan’s marginalization in the process of regional economic integration.