US Senate panel approves measure to strip China of ‘developing’ status

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Legislation to strip China of its status as a “developing nation” at some international organizations was passed by a U.S. Senate committee on Thursday, as members of the U.S. focus on competing with the Asian power.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the “Ending China’s Developing Nation Status Act” without dissent. The bill would 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 immediate indication of when that might take place.

A similar measure passed the House of Representatives in March by 415-0.

The desire for a hard line on China is one of the few truly bipartisan sentiments in the perennially divided U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Daniel Wallis)