The details of a piece of US Senate legislation released on Wednesday revealed calls for US troops to participate in Taiwan’s military exercises and vice versa, a part of efforts by US lawmakers to support Taiwan amid what they see as a rising military threat from China.
The US Senate Committee on Armed Services on May 24 passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2019, which includes several provisions aimed at strengthening Taiwan’s military capabilities.
Section 1243 of the act reiterates Washington’s decades-long stance that the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances” are cornerstones of US-Taiwan relations.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
In line with these cornerstones, the US should “strengthen defense and security cooperation with Taiwan to support the development of capable, ready and modern defense forces necessary for Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,” the bill reads.
The US secretary of defense should also promote US Department of Defense policies concerning exchanges that enhance the security of Taiwan, “including US participation in appropriate Taiwan exercises, such as the annual Han Kuang exercise” and vice versa, it says.
The Han Kuang military exercises are Taiwan’s largest annual military drills. They are held in two stages: computer-aided war games and live-fire drills staged nationwide.
This year’s computer-aided war games were held from April 30 to May 4. The live-fire exercises began on Monday and end today.
This year they featured Coast Guard Administration personnel and civilian drone operators for the first time, making use of all levers of national power in military planning, the Ministry of National Defense has said.
The Senate bill calls on both nations to expand cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and urges the secretary of defense to consider supporting a visit by a US hospital ship to Taiwan as part of the US Navy’s annual Pacific Partnership deployment to improve disaster response planning and readiness.
The bill must still be passed by the full Senate and signed by the president before it becomes law.
The US House of Representatives on May 24 passed its version of the fiscal 2019 NDAA.
The US Congress has over the years passed a number of pro-Taiwan laws to show support for the nation, including the Taiwan Travel Act in late February, which encourages meetings and visits by high-ranking US and Taiwanese government officials.
Asked for comment, Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) yesterday expressed the government’s gratitude to the Senate for its support of Taiwan’s national security.
“Taiwan’s national security and self-defense capabilities will continue to be a focus for the government,” Lin said.
Ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) also offered thanks to the Senate.
“Taiwan will gladly be a part of endeavors to promote regional security and stability,” Chen said.
Chen quoted Confucius’ saying that “virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors,” saying that the ministry believes that Taiwan would be able to work with other democratic nations.
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and
TAKING NOTICE: In the first time that G7 foreign ministers have mentioned Taiwan in a joint communique, they called for ‘peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait’ The Presidential Office yesterday thanked the G7 foreign ministers for their strong support of Taiwan after the group in its joint statement on Wednesday called for the nation’s participation in the WHO, and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The ministers in a communique issued at the end of their three-day meeting declared support for “Taiwan’s meaningful participation” in WHO forums and the World Health Assembly (WHA). “The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan’s successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. The statement included a section
UP TO TWO DAYS: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said that most who got the shot and felt discomfort only felt ill for the first two days Employees can ask for unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave, from the day of their shot until the end of the next day, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, adding that the policy takes effect immediately. “The policy of unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave will be implemented starting on May 5, and all workers and civil servants will be eligible,” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news conference. Leave can be taken on the day of vaccination and if recipients feel discomfort after getting the shot, they can extend the leave to all of the