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US lawmakers introduced legislation Friday that urges the United States to resume normal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Under current US policy, the United States has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognizes a so-called one-China policy, with Beijing as its capital.
A sponsor of the legislation, Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, called that policy outdated. "It's time for the United States to stop living this lie and to formally recognize Taiwan for what it is: An independent and sovereign country," said Tancredo, a strong critic of China and champion of Taiwan.
Such language infuriates China, which considers the democratic island Chinese territory and repeatedly has threatened war should it move toward formal independence. China and Taiwan split in 1949 as the Chinese civil war was ending.
Any hostilities could ensnare the United States, which is Taiwan's biggest arms supplier and is bound by law to help the island defend itself.
The legislation introduced in the House of Representatives also calls for the United States to support Taiwan's efforts to join the United Nations.