Thu, Oct 31, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Forbes urges US to give Taiwan more military support

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

Taiwan needs stronger military support from the US, US Representative Randy Forbes said on Tuesday.

He called on Taipei to fully commit to its own defense, but said that the US could do more to help.

Forbes was addressing a discussion at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on US strategy in the Asia-Pacific region and the need for greater congressional involvement in the so-called rebalance or pivot.

It might do a “world of good” for the US to make clear that Taiwan is a valid part of the rebalance and is involved, he said, adding that he was “hopeful, but not overly optimistic” that the US would give Taiwan more military support.

“I just don’t see all of the components lined up for it,” he said.

Despite White House assurances to the contrary, the rhetoric of the Asia pivot is increasingly overshadowed by grim budgetary realities in Washington, a statement from AEI said

“Looming sequestration cuts over the next decade have already forced the [US President Barack] Obama administration to scale back its economic, diplomatic and military investments in the Asia-Pacific, exacerbating fears of disrupted trade and rising tensions in the region,” the statement said.

Forbes, chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, said that he was spearheading a bipartisan effort for Congress to become more deeply involved in the administration’s pivot.

He wants to clarify congressional responsibility and define a US role in Asia that “convinces US allies that the pivot is more than empty sloganeering.”

He said that he is planning a series of hearings and open and classified briefings for the full committee over the next few months.

Asked what more Taiwan should do to increase its own defenses, Forbes said that he did not want to comment on the actions other countries should take.

However, he called for an “honest dialogue” with China to include talking about issues that Beijing wants to avoid.

“At the same time, I don’t think we should walk in and say we are only going to talk about the bad things China does,” he said.

“There are some good things and good opportunities, and we can learn from each other,” he said.

Forbes said that disputes in the Asia-Pacific region needed “to be solved in a peaceful manner and not in a military manner.”

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