Last week, the U.S House of Representatives passed two pieces of pro-Taiwan legislation, much to the chagrin of China and happiness of Taiwan. The US has made recent moves to strengthen ties with Taipei, diplomacy that has not officially existed since the late 1970's.
The Foreign Affairs Committee passed two bills on Tuesday to “strengthen the critical U.S.-Taiwan partnership”, the Taiwan Travel Act and a bill to support Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Organization (WHO), according to an online statement.
The travel bill aims to encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan, while the second bill aims to counter “harmful and unacceptable” efforts to undermine Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHO, it added.
“We should be supporting countries that have achieved democracy to serve as inspiration for these values across the Asia Pacific,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, a California Republican. “I applaud the House in passing two bills today that send a strong message of support to our friend and partner, Taiwan.”
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China firmly opposed the two bills, which constitute a “severe violation” of the “one China” principle and an interference in China’s internal affairs.
????hina urges the United States to scrupulously abide by the one China principle, cautiously handle the Taiwan issue, not have any official contact with Taiwan and not give any wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces,” he said in a briefing.
"Beijing's diplomatic retaliations toward Washington will come from all sides," said an op-ed in the Global Times, the well known mouthpiece of China's communist party. "This will multiply exponentially the costs for the U.S, of handling global affairs and make the country profoundly realize that the Taiwan question is the Chinese mainland's bottom line that it cannot afford to touch."
The bills, which were passed by voice vote Tuesday, would still need Senate approval and U.S. President Donald Trump’s signature to become law.
Since 1979, Washington has cut off diplomatic ties with the government in Taipei under the One China policy, as China claims the currently democratically self-governing island as their official territory. Since then, no Taiwanese leader has formally visited the White House, but that could change if the bill gets signed into law.
One China has been the cornerstone of diplomatic relations with China for years, and is the policy that threatens all allies to never question China's sovereignty over the regions it claims as its own; including Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau.