The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee's approval of the so-called Taiwan Policy Act on Wednesday marks another dangerous step toward a green light being given to the country providing direct military assistance to the Chinese island.
The US has sold weapons to Taiwan for decades, but the new bill goes further by providing US security assistance of $4.5 billion to the island over four years, and it also lays out sanctions on the Chinese mainland if it resorts to the use of force to realize national reunification.
Although the White House has not said whether President Joe Biden will sign the Act into law, the strong bipartisan support it has garnered in Congress may force his hand should it pass a full vote in the full Senate and the House of Representatives, as it is expected that it would have enough support to override a presidential veto.
If that happens, it will not only be a move the US side takes to unilaterally change the status quo of the Taiwan Straits, but also a watershed incident in the development of Sino-US relations as it will seriously trample on the redline drawn by Beijing and pose a grave and direct threat to China's core national interests.
It would also violate the commitments the US made to Beijing on the establishment of diplomatic relations, as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office would be renamed the Taiwan Representative Office, becoming a de facto embassy, and the US government would be instructed to interact with Taiwan as it would with any government.
The content of the Act essentially negates the three Sino-US joint communiques, which are binding in terms of international law. It exposes that international law is nothing but a joke for Washington. If it randomly tramples on the basic norms of international relations and is not willing to honor its words, how can the US be trusted by the international community?
Senator Bob Menendez, a member of the Democratic Party who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the US "does not seek war or heightened tensions with Beijing", and "We are carefully and strategically lowering the existential threats facing Taiwan by raising the cost of taking the island by force so that it becomes too high a risk and unachievable."
That shows that US lawmakers dangerously underestimate Beijing's resolve and capability to prevent the island from being cleaved from the motherland. What the Act will do if it becomes law, will simply turn the island into another proxy for the US in a war that some of its lawmakers seem rabidly itching to start.