US legislation on docking warships in Taiwan threatens China ties: experts

By Leng Shumei and Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/16 22:43:39

Act will normalize weapons sales to Taiwan, allow docking

Chinese experts warned that a recently passed US legislation on "normalizing" US weapons sales to Taiwan and allowing US warships to dock on the island will do no good to both sides, and will bring "unprecedented" damage to Sino-US ties and cross-Straits relations.

The US House of Representatives Friday passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. It also passed amendments to the legislation that allow US navy ships and the island's to dock at each other's territory, and to "normalize" the transfer of defense equipment and services to Taiwan, Taiwan-based Central News Agency (CNA) reported Saturday.

A final version of the legislation will be drafted at an undisclosed time and will take effect after US President Donald Trump signs it.

"Such a clause seriously violates China's sovereignty," Liu Xiangping, head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at Nanjing University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Experts also warned that the legislation, together with the amendment, will do no good to the interests of the US and the island.

Liu noted that Sino-US ties would be seriously damaged if the final version of the legislation is approved, which is possible considering that the initial version was passed by a vote of 344-81.

"Trump is likely to bend to political pressure to avoid internal conflicts, even at the cost of offending China," Liu added.

However, Lü Cuncheng, a research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noted that in consideration of Sino-US ties, the US may not dock its warships in Taiwan ports even if the legislation takes effect.

"If the legislation takes effect, high-level dialogue between China and the US and political mutual trust would be seriously damaged," Lü said.

Moreover, Lü pointed out that the legislation, if enacted, would threaten cross-Straits relations and severely hurt the interests of Taiwan people.

The legislation states that the US should expand military exchanges with the island of Taiwan and encourage the latter to continue investing in its self-defense capabilities. It also calls on the US government to provide defense equipment and services as Taiwan requests, the CAN reported.

The NDAA draft was passed by the Senate's Armed Services Committee on June 28, which was strongly opposed by China.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in June that China had "lodged solemn representations with the US side over its erroneous actions on Taiwan-related issues."

"Taiwan-related content in the aforementioned bill severely violates the three joint communiqués between China and the US, and constitutes interference in China's domestic affairs. China by no means accepts that," Lu said.  

Newspaper headline: US law threatens China ties

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