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Biden signs into law 2024 defense spending bill with Taiwan provisions

12/23/2023 02:16 PM
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A Taiwanese military unit engages in a drill in this CNA file photo
A Taiwanese military unit engages in a drill in this CNA file photo

Washington, Dec. 23 (CNA) United States President Joe Biden on Friday signed into law the finalized bill for the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes the U.S. secretary of defense to create a training program for Taiwan's military and requires a status report on the delivery of defense weapons and services that the U.S. has agreed to sell to Taiwan.

Provisions in the NDAA related to Taiwan include measures to help strengthen its defense capabilities, counter Chinese influence campaigns, and support Taiwan's participation in international organizations.

One of those provisions requires the U.S. secretary of defense, in consultation with "appropriate officials in Taiwan," to establish a comprehensive training, advising, and institutional capacity-building program for Taiwanese military forces, consistent with the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act.

The NDAA also directs the secretary of defense and secretary of state to describe in their annual report to Congress actions taken to carry out the program.

Other sections in the NDAA require relevant U.S. officials to keep close tabs on deliveries of defense articles to U.S. allies, including Taiwan, and to prevent delays.

The bill proscribes committing more than 85 percent of the funds available to the assistant secretary of the navy for research, development, and acquisition until a plan is submitted to provide Harpoon missiles to security partners.

It also requires a briefing on the status of U.S.-provided security assistance to Taiwan before the remaining funds can be released.

Taiwan has committed to purchasing 400 land-based Harpoon missiles from the U.S. and hopes to start taking delivery of the missiles in 2026 and receive all 400 missiles by the end of 2028.

The NDAA requires that the secretary of defense and secretary of state brief congressional committees on the status of U.S.-provided security assistance to Taiwan no later than 180 days after the date of the law's enactment.

Those reports shall include a list of defense articles and services either committed to or planned to be provided to Taiwan, and the estimated delivery schedule for each of these cases.

Crucially, the act stipulates that the briefing shall also identify any defense article or service whose delivery has been delayed by more than three months and actions taken to prevent delays or accelerate the delivery of any of those items.

The authorization act also directs the U.S. secretary of defense to work with Taiwanese officials on defensive military cybersecurity activities aimed at defending military networks, infrastructure, and systems to counter "malicious cyber activity" aimed at military installations.

It also calls for officials to provide an assessment of the economic impact of various potential invasion and response scenarios on the world, the U.S., and in China, along with viable economic policy options against Beijing to "cause escalating impacts" on China's economy "during the pre-conflict phase."

Officials are also required to provide regular assessments of Chinese efforts to coerce Pacific island countries that diplomatically recognize Taiwan into changing their allegiance to China.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Sean Lin)

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