U.S. House passes defense bill with Taiwan provisions
Washington, July 14 (CNA) The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed an annual defense policy bill with provisions to reinforce the partnership between Washington and Taipei, including requiring the U.S. president to invite Taiwan to join an upcoming U.S.-led military exercise in the region.
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23 NDAA), which authorizes annual programming and spending for the U.S. Department of Defense and other U.S.national security programs, was passed by 329 yes votes, with 101 no votes.
Several pro-Taiwan bills were passed as amendments to the FY23 NDAA.
They included the Taiwan Peace and Stability Act, which focuses specifically on enhancing deterrence measures in the Taiwan Strait; the Taiwan Fellowship Act, which will give U.S. policymakers the opportunity to live and work in Taiwan; and the Arms Exports Delivery Solutions Act, which seeks to track and expedite deliveries of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan amid growing cross-strait tensions.
In a Twitter message, Democratic Representative from California Ami Bera, who co-introduced the Taiwan Peace and Stability Act with his Republican colleague Steve Chabot from Ohio, called the passage of the Act "great news."
Bera, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Central Asia, described the House's vote for the Act as bipartisan support for Taiwan.
"This bipartisan legislation strengthens the U.S.-Taiwan partnership and enhances deterrence over Beijing's attempts to intimidate and isolate #Taiwan," Bera said on his Twitter page.
In a separate statement on his website, Bera said the Taiwan Peace and Stability Act "signals a path forward on U.S. policy toward Taiwan."
"Specifically, the legislation drives a whole of government review of options to enhance deterrence over a cross-Strait conflict, strengthens U.S. support for Taiwan's meaningful participation in the international community, and advances U.S.-Taiwan economic ties," he said.
The summary about the FY23 NDAA released by the U.S. House showed the legislation will reaffirm U.S. support for the defense of Taiwan, while aiming to reaffirm the Indo-Pacific Command's authority to conduct joint exercises with Taiwan, "no matter what the Chinese say."
In addition, it requires the Biden Administration to invite Taiwan to join the Rim of the Pacific Exercise in 2024 to improve the readiness of their forces and fully fund military exercises with its allies and partners in the Pacific to counter China's growing reach.
The FY23 NDAA also requires the U.S. government to assess Taiwan's air defense capabilities and recommend ways to expeditiously improve them, while requiring regular updates on the status of deliveries of U.S. military assistance to Taiwan and efforts being taken to expedite such deliveries.
Since the bill included 650 amendments, the full content will not be released until the House's staff complete the compilation.
On June 16, the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate passed its own version of the FY23 NDAA but the legislation is pending approval from the full Senate.
Typically, both chambers of Congress would pass their own versions of the NDAA and negotiate a reconciliation of the bill before sending it to the president to sign into law.
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