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U.S. defense policy bill addresses partnership with Taiwan

2017/11/10 15:51:26

Image taken from www.facebook.com/USSVINSON

Washington, Nov. 9 (CNA) The U.S. government should strengthen its defense partnership with Taiwan by exchanging port calls and inviting Taiwan to military exercises, according to a provision in the annual defense policy bill adopted by U.S. congressional committees.

The National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 was agreed upon by the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committees on Wednesday and included two sections on Taiwan.

To become law, the bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then signed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

In the section on strengthening the U.S-Taiwan defense partnership, the bill states: "It is the policy of the United States to reinforce its commitments to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act and consistent with the 'Six Assurances' as both governments work to improve Taiwan's self-defense capability."

The United States should strengthen and enhance its longstanding partnership and cooperation with Taiwan and conduct regular transfers of defense articles and defense services necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability, the bill says.

It also says, the U.S. should invite Taiwan to participate in military exercises, such as the "Red Flag" exercises and conduct bilateral naval exercises, to include pre-sail conferences in the western Pacific Ocean.

Other measures mentioned in the bill are programs of exchanges of senior military officers and senior officials with Taiwan, supporting expanded exchanges focused on practical training for Taiwan personnel by and with United States military units, and considering the advisability and feasibility of reestablishing port of call exchanges between the United States navy and the Taiwan navy.

In the section on normalizing the transfer of defense articles and defense services to Taiwan, the bill says any requests from Taiwan for such articles and services should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the U.S. secretary of defense, in consultation with the U.S. secretary of state.

No later than 120 days after a letter of request is received from Taiwan, the secretary of defense should submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees, the bill states.

(By Chin-ye Chiang and Y.F. Low)
Enditem/AW