Brakes must be slammed on collision-course Act

The United States government is reportedly considering a comprehensive sanctions package to deter a potential mainland "invasion" of Taiwan, and lobbying hard to bring its European allies on board.

Taking advantage of the Ukraine crisis and the present tensions across the Taiwan Straits, the Taiwan authorities are taking it as an opportunity to double down on their endeavors to persuade regional and Western countries to join the emerging alliance of support.

While talks on the said sanctions are reportedly still in an early stage, it is being speculated that the package will go beyond what the US and some of its allies have imposed previously and further restrict economic and trade exchanges concerning such sensitive technologies as computer chips and telecommunications equipment, with a special focus on undermining the Chinese mainland's military capabilities.

Taiwan's lobbyists in the US are mobilizing dozens of European, Asian and African parliamentarians, mostly members of the Inter-Parliamentarian Alliance on China to pledge to push their respective governments to adopt "greater deterrence against military or other coercive" actions the mainland may take against the island.

While these developments are no doubt detrimental to long-term relations between China and the US and cross-Straits ties, a pressing imperative for all stakeholders is to prevent fears of the worst-case scenario from becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Whether or not the new sanctions reportedly being considered by Washington represent an additional step aimed at internationalizing the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, which is being reviewed by the US Congress, it will help proponents of the new legislation gain extra momentum for legislative approval, which would be a danger-laden development for both China-US and cross-Straits relations.

As determined as the White House is to hinder the Chinese island's reunification with the motherland, the Joe Biden administration has reportedly sought to discuss with lawmakers the significant potential impacts the Act may have on the state of affairs and make sure the consequences remain manageable.

Introduced by US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez and Senator Lindsey Graham, the bipartisan Taiwan Policy Act of 2022 represents a comprehensive restructuring of the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. It seeks to significantly bolster Taiwan's military capabilities, support Taiwan's participation in international organizations, and designate Taiwan as a "non-NATO ally", all of which are in violation of the central government's sovereignty over Taiwan.

Given Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, which is affirmed in international law, a US domestic law like this would effectively dampen any hope for improvement in bilateral ties, and put the two countries on a collision course.

It is thus important for the Biden administration to remind Congress of the very harmful consequences of approving it as it is.