A Republican congressman wants to pass a law allowing US troops to defend Taiwan if China invades.
Ted Yoho, 65, from Florida, believes the US is not doing enough to protect the self-ruling island from the threat of Chinese domination.
He plans to introduce a Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act to try to secure a tougher stance from the Trump administration. Although the bill has little prospect of success without support from Democratic or Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, it underscores the deepening acrimony between America and China.
“This is something that’s going to lay very clear what our intent is,” he told Fox Business. “In fact, it will go to the point where it authorises [use of military force] if China invades Taiwan.”
The introduction of a national security law in Hong Kong has deepened fears that President Xi will try to claim Taiwan. The regime has long considered the island a breakaway province to be brought back, by force if necessary.
Last year Mr Xi said the country should achieve unification with Taiwan by 2050. The People’s Liberation Army has increased the frequency of military drills around the island.
America has a pact with Taiwan to ensure that the island has hardware and technology to defend itself with.
Yesterday Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, accused China of “coercion, systematic rule breaking and other malign activities”. Its activities near Taiwan “significantly increase the risk of miscalculation”, he warned.