efe-epaTaipei

Taiwan on Tuesday thanked the United States Congress for approving the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act that besides deepening US engagement in the Indo-Pacific region also reaffirms Washington's firm support to the island.

The Taiwanese foreign ministry in a statement said the government would continue to maintain close ties with the relevant US administrative agencies to strengthen bilateral relationship.

The statement said Taiwan shared common values and objectives in the region with the US and was willing to cooperate with Washington and other allies to jointly promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

It said the US move was a clear demonstration of the support of the two chambers to further enhance bilateral relations and promote regional peace and stability.

The new act supports strengthening political and economic ties with Taiwan and providing support to counter any attempts to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait which includes the maintenance of Taiwanese autonomy against China.

The act, which is designed to serve as a political framework to reinforce Washington's leadership in the Indo-Pacific region, was approved by the US Senate on Dec.5 and then by the House of Representatives on Dec. 12.

It now awaits President Donald Trump's signature for it to come into effect.

The ARIA initiative follows the approval of the Taiwan Travel Act at the beginning of the year which allows visits to be made by senior Taiwanese and American officials.

It reaffirms US commitment to maintaining Taiwan's security through the Six Assurances of 1982 - an informal set of guidelines on ties between the two sides.

In the Six Assurances, former US President Ronald Reagan promised not to set a deadline for selling defense weapons to Taiwan or alter the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.

He also pledged not to consult China before making decisions on arms sales to Taiwan, not to mediate between the two sides of the Strait, not to change its position on Taiwan's sovereignty nor force the island nation to enter into negotiations with China.