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China-US relations

US Senate passes Taiwan travel bill slammed by China

Legislation aimed at forging closer ties between the US and Taiwan, which China says is a breakaway Chinese province

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 March, 2018, 9:48am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 March, 2018, 9:48am

The US Senate on Wednesday passed a bill criticised by China promoting closer US ties with Taiwan.

The Senate passed the Taiwan Travel Act by unanimous consent. It passed the House of Representatives in January, also without opposition. The legislation only needs President Donald Trump’s signature to become law.

The legislation says it should be US policy to allow officials at all levels to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts, permit high-level Taiwanese officials to enter the United States “under respectful conditions” and meet with US officials and encourage Taiwanese economic and cultural representatives to conduct business in the United States.

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White House officials did not immediately respond when asked if Trump planned to sign the legislation. It would be unusual for a president to veto a measure that passed unanimously.

The Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency reported earlier this month that China was “strongly dissatisfied” with the legislation, saying that some of its clauses violated the one-China principle under which it considers Taiwan a breakaway Chinese province.

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Beijing has taken an increasingly hostile stance toward Taiwan over the past two years since the election of Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party.