Fri, Nov 10, 2017 - Page 1 News List

US lawmakers in defense bill deal as Taiwan cited

REMOVED:The Senate said the feasibility of permitting ports of call by Taiwan’s navy should be assessed, but the clause was not in a summary of the compromise NDAA bill

Staff writer, with CNA

US congressional defense committees on Wednesday finalized a compromise US$700 billion defense spending plan for fiscal year 2018 that includes a provision to strengthen defense partnership with Taiwan.

The House of Representatives and the Senate armed services committees agreed on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allocates US$626 billion for base budget spending and an additional US$66 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations fund.

The bill states that it is “the sense of Congress” that the US should strengthen and enhance its long-standing partnership and strategic cooperation with Taiwan, which includes normalizing the arms sales process, taking steps to enhance training and exercises, and promoting exchanges between senior officials.

It also reiterates the US’ commitment to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act.

The two versions of the bill state that by no later than Sept. 1 next year, the US secretary of defense should submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on an assessment regarding ports of call by the US Navy at Kaohsiung or any other suitable Taiwanese ports.

While the Senate version said the report should also include an assessment of the feasibility and advisability of permitting the US Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwan’s navy in Hawaii, Guam and other appropriate locations, the clause was not mentioned in the summary of the compromise bill published on Wednesday.

The clause could still be included, but Taiwan would have to wait until the full text of the bill is published to find out.

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

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