U.S. Senate committee backs Taiwan port calls by U.S. Navy

06/29/2017 03:54 PM

Washington, June 28 (CNA) The Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a provision that will allow U.S. naval vessels to make regular stops at Taiwanese ports.

The provision was adopted by a vote 21-6 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018, which will now move on to the full Senate for consideration.

It stipulates re-establishing "regular ports of call by the U.S. Navy at Kaohsiung or any other suitable ports in Taiwan" and permitting "U.S. Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwan," according to a summary of the bill.

It also directs the U.S. Department of Defense to "implement a program of technical assistance to support Taiwanese efforts to develop indigenous undersea warfare capabilities, including vehicles and sea mines."

In response, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said it welcomes any exchanges and cooperation that are favorable to the country's defense security and regional stability.

Observers that have followed U.S.-Taiwan relations said that a decision in favor of mutual port calls likely would rest with the White House even if the language is included in the final version of the bill as adopted by Congress.

(By Rita Cheng and Y.F. Low)ENDITEM/J

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