A key US Senate committee approved legislation on Thursday to strip China of its status as a “developing nation” at some international organizations.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the “Ending China’s Developing Nation Status Act” without dissent.
The bill will require the Secretary of State to pursue changing China’s status as a developing nation in international organizations.
Proponents of the bill say that status can allow special privileges in some organizations or treaties.
The committee’s approval paves the way for the measure to be considered by the full Senate, although there was no indication of when that might take place.
A similar measure passed the House of Representatives in March by 415-0.
‘It’s not up to the US to decide this’
China’s Foreign Ministry last month dismissed moves by the US to challenge China’s developing country status, saying it would “defend its legitimate rights as a developing nation” and claimed that the country “does not use such a status to evade international responsibilities or gain privileges”.
“Whether China belongs to the category of developing countries is not determined by the US,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference in Beijing on May 12.
“China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries,” said Wang, adding that the country does not regard its status as a “shield” to evade international responsibilities or a “key” to gain special privileges, but actively contributes to world peace and development.
The Global Times state mouthpiece said: “China has fought side by side with developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America for national liberation movements and supported each other in promoting national development.”
Bipartisan sentiment in US
The desire for a harder line on China is one of the few truly bipartisan sentiments in the perennially divided US Congress, and members of Congress have introduced dozens of bills seeking to address competition with China’s communist government.
The Foreign Relations panel also approved the “Taiwan Protection and National Resilience Act,” which would require reports from government agencies on US options to prepare for and respond to a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
China views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and has increased military, political and economic pressure to assert those claims.
Taiwan strongly objects to China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s people can decide their future.
- Reuters with additional reporting and editing by Jim Pollard