Wed, Jan 02, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Officials welcome US law asserting support

ARMS SALES:The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the timing of the bill’s signing was significant, as this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act

Staff writer, with CNA, Washington

US President Donald Trump signs the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act into law at the White House in Washington on Monday, pledging to increase US engagement and support in the Indo-Pacific region.

Photo: CNA / Photo provided by the White House

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked the US for its support for Taiwan, after US President Donald Trump signed legislation aimed at enhancing the US’ influence in the Indo-Pacific region and reaffirming Washington’s commitment to Taiwan, particularly arms sales.

The timing of the signing was especially significant, as this year marks the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, the ministry said, adding that Taiwan looks forward to deepening its ties with the US, as well as cooperation with like-minded nations in the region to promote peace, prosperity and stability.

Trump on Monday signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act and 12 other bills, the White House announced, although the US president seemed eager to make clear he would not be constrained by the bill’s demands that the US be more engaged in the region.

“Several provisions of the act ... purport to dictate the policy of the United States in external military and foreign affairs, or to require the executive branch to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives with international partners,” Trump said in a statement. “My administration will treat these provisions consistent with the president’s exclusive constitutional authorities as commander in chief and as the sole representative of the United States in foreign affairs.”

The bill was introduced in April by US senators Cory Gardner, Ed Markey, Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin.

It serves as a policy framework to enhance US leadership in the Indo-Pacific region and to demonstrate a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and rules-based international order, Gardner said.

Section 209 of the bill states that it is the policy of the US to support the close economic, political and security relationship with Taiwan.

It is US policy “to faithfully enforce” all existing US government commitments to Taiwan, consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, the three US-China joint communiques and the “six assurances” agreed to by former US president Ronald Reagan, the bill says.

It further reiterates US policy as countering efforts to change the “status quo” and supporting “peaceful resolution acceptable to both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”

On arms sales to Taiwan, the act says that the US president should conduct regular transfers of defense articles to Taiwan that are tailored to meet the existing and likely future threats from the People’s Republic of China.

That should include “supporting the efforts of Taiwan to develop and integrate asymmetric capabilities, as appropriate, including mobile and cost-effective capabilities, into its military forces,” the bill says.

It also urges the US president to encourage the travel of high-level US officials to Taiwan, in accordance with the Taiwan Travel Act.

Additional reporting by Lu Yi-hsuan

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