(TibetanReview.net, Jan04’19) – Tibet has been included in a new US law aimed at developing a long-term strategic vision and policy for the country in the Indo-Pacific region. The law, titled as the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 (S.2736), was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec 31, 2018.
The Act aims to “develop a long-term strategic vision and a comprehensive, multifaceted, and principled United States policy for the Indo-Pacific region.” It says, “The United States has a fundamental interest in defending human rights and promoting the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The Act is aimed at enhancing America’s leadership in the Indo-Pacific region by strengthening multifaceted ties with India and other concerned counties while calling out Chinese actions that “undermine” the rules-based international system.
The Indo-Pacific, sometimes known as the Indo-West Pacific or Indo-Pacific Asia, is a biogeographic region of Earth’s seas, comprising the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, the western and central Pacific Ocean, and the seas connecting the two in the general area of Indonesia and includes the disputed South China Sea.
On Tibet, the Act commits the US government to support “activities preserving cultural traditions and promoting sustainable development, education, and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities” in the region. It expresses grave concerns over China’s actions that seek to further constrain space for civil society within China and to undermine a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.
“This Act rightly places the issue of Tibet within the parameters of US security interests. Tibet occupies an Asian fault zone of clashing cultures and big-power politics,” Matteo Mecacci, president of International Campaign for Tibet, Washington, DC, has said Jan 2.
The Act authorizes the appropriation of $210,000,000, for each of the fiscal years 2019 through 2023, to promote democracy, strengthen civil society, human rights, rule of law, transparency, and accountability in the Indo- Pacific region, including for universities, civil society, and multilateral institutions that are focusing on education awareness, training, and capacity building.
It further says that amounts out of that appropriation be made available for nongovernmental organizations to support activities preserving cultural traditions and promoting sustainable development, education, and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan communities in China, India, and Nepal.
It also provides for promoting democracy in China, with amounts being made available for United States Government efforts, led by the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, to promote democracy, the rule of law, and human rights in the People’s Republic of China.
Act was also reported to be aimed at elevating mutual visits between Washington and Taiwan which China remains determined to annex somehow.