McCaul applauds State Department actions on U.S.-Taiwan relations taken under his bill

The U.S. State Department recently took actions under a new law originally introduced by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) that directs the State Department to review its guidance governing relations between the United States and Taiwan. 

“I am pleased to see the State Department take swift and decisive action to implement the bipartisan Taiwan Assurance Act, which I introduced to ensure we move beyond the outdated red tape limiting our relationship with Taiwan,” said Rep. McCaul, ranking member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rep. McCaul in April 2019 sponsored the bipartisan Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019, H.R. 2002, with lead cosponsor U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The measure became law with the president’s signature in December 2020 as part of a larger bill.

Following review of its guidance governing U.S.-Taiwan relations, the measure also directs the State Department to reissue that guidance to the relevant executive branch departments and agencies, and to report to Congress on the results of the review and on the implementation of the Taiwan Travel Act, which states that it is U.S. policy to allow and encourage engagement between U.S. and Taiwanese officials, according to the congressional record bill summary.

On Jan. 9, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department has created complex internal restrictions to regulate its diplomats, service members and other officials’ interactions with their Taiwanese counterparts. “The United States government took these actions unilaterally, in an attempt to appease the communist regime in Beijing. No more,” he said.

The secretary then announced he was “lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions,” and said that executive branch agencies should consider all “contact guidelines” regarding U.S.-Taiwan relations previously issued by the State Department to be null and void.

“Since Congress established U.S.-Taiwan relations in 1979, Taiwan has grown into a vital democracy and critical U.S. partner,” said Rep. McCaul. “Due to our shared priorities today of confronting the generational threat posed by the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], it is time to eliminate this unnecessary bureaucracy so we can deepen our ties with Taiwan and help to bolster them against further marginalization by the CCP’s growing aggression.”