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US House of Representatives ratifies bill to ban TikTok if it continues ties with China
Photo courtesy: Pixabay

US House of Representatives ratifies bill to ban TikTok if it continues ties with China

| @indiablooms | 21 Apr 2024, 01:30 am

Washington: US House of Representatives legislators gave quick approvals to two crucial aid bills on Saturday, aimed at countering China's influence and bolstering Taiwan, media reported.

They also issued a warning to TikTok, threatening a ban unless it separates from its Beijing ties, reported AFP.

Votes on significant bills regarding Ukraine and Israel were pending.

Voting on the foreign aid and arms bills, totalling approximately $95 billion, started at 1:00 pm (1700 GMT). Speaker Mike Johnson, facing challenges inside his own party, had to rely on Democratic support for the bills to pass, said the report.

These bills are the result of extensive negotiations, pressure from US allies, and appeals for aid from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The issue of funding, particularly for Ukraine, has been contentious and even cost a previous Speaker his position.

Responding to President Biden's request, a part of the funds, about $8 billion, is allocated to counter China's influence, including investment in submarine infrastructure and competition with Beijing on international projects. Moreover, significant funds are earmarked for Taiwan's defense, according to the AFP report.

A provision in the bills mandates TikTok to sever ties with its Chinese parent company ByteDance, or face a nationwide ban in the US.

Allegations of TikTok's alignment with Beijing's interests have fuelled concerns among Western officials, despite the company's denial of such claims.

President Biden's administration expressed strong support for the legislation, underscoring the importance of addressing these strategic and security concerns.

The bill also includes provisions for Ukraine, long supported by Democrats but facing resistance from some Republicans, particularly those aligned with former President Trump's stance. Speaker Johnson, after much deliberation, endorsed a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine, which includes economic assistance and arsenal.

The legislation also empowers President Biden to seize and sell Russian assets to fund Ukraine's reconstruction, a move endorsed by G7 nations.

The bill awaits its fate with the Senate, with Democratic leader Chuck Schumer indicating a quick deliberation. Further, significant military aid has been allocated to Israel for its defense against Hamas, alongside humanitarian assistance for Gaza and other vulnerable populations.

The passage of these bills is expected to be welcomed by US allies, though it may come at a political cost for Speaker Johnson, who faces opposition from his party for supporting them.

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