WASHINGTON, Nov 17 — A bipartisan advisory body to the US Congress today recommended that lawmakers take “urgent measures” to strengthen the credibility of US military deterrence of any potential Chinese aggression against Taiwan.

The influential US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) included a range of recommendations about Taiwan in its annual report to Congress, amid heightened tensions between the democratically-ruled island and China.

The report said Congress should authorize and appropriate funds for Taiwan to purchase defense articles from the United States and finance the deployment of cruise and ballistic missiles and other munitions in the Indo-Pacific while increasing funding for surveillance.

“A lack of clarity in US policy could contribute to a deterrence failure if Chinese leaders interpret that policy to mean opportunistic aggression against Taiwan might not provoke a quick or decisive US response,” the report said.

China claims Taiwan as its own and has vowed to bring the island under Chinese control, by force if necessary, and tensions across the Taiwan Strait have escalated in recent months.

Beijing also objects to Washington’s efforts to carve out more space for Taiwan in the international system, and recent comments by President Joe Biden that the United States would defend Taiwan in certain cases also inflamed tensions.

In a video call lasting more than three hours that ended early yesterday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned Biden that China would respond to provocations on Taiwan.

The report also addressed a range of economic issues in relations between the United States and China, including recommending that Congress consider comprehensive legislation to address risks to US investors and interests from investments in Chinese equity, debt and derivative instruments.

The report also recommended tighter control of exports, especially technology transfers. — Reuters