US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce is urging the White House to immediately issue a final authorization for two Perry-class guided missile frigates to be transferred to Taiwan.
After visiting one of the frigates — the USS Gary — in San Diego, California, this week, Royce said that he was continuing efforts to strengthen Taiwan-US relations.
“I understand that the Taiwan navy has already inspected these frigates and is eager for the transfer to happen soon,” he said.
“Now that the US navy and Taiwan navy have completed the paperwork needed for this transfer, I urge President Barack Obama’s administration to not delay a moment longer before transferring these frigates to Taiwan,” he added.
The US agreed in December last year to sell four decommissioned Perry-class frigates to Taiwan. The Ministry of National Defense said the ships would enhance the nation’s defense capabilities and contribute to peace and stability in the region.
China lodged a formal complaint with the US about the transfer and called for an end to all arms sales to Taiwan.
However, after the US House and Senate passed a bill authorizing the sale of up to four frigates to Taiwan, Obama signed it into law.
Taipei quickly agreed to buy two of the frigates and said that it would decide later whether to buy more.
The frigates approved for sale to Taiwan are the USS Gary, USS Carr, USS Taylor and USS Elrod.
Perry-class frigates are 4,165 tonnes and are designed for marine-patrol warfare with secondary anti-aircraft and anti-ship capability.
The USS Gary returned to San Diego from its final deployment with the US Navy in April.
“This frigate is now undergoing a refurbishment in preparation for transfer as one of the eight decommissioned excess frigates to be sold or transferred to friendly nations,” Royce said.
“I am proud to have led the successful naval vessel transfer initiative in the House, which authorized four Perry-class frigates to Taiwan,” he said.
“The United States-Taiwan relationship has, for three decades, been based upon the Taiwan Relations Act and the US engagement to support the people of Taiwan. I have worked to expand Taiwan’s standing in international organizations and to protect Taiwan’s economic stability by supporting its intention to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he added.
Taiwan has already decommissioned two of its eight Knox-class frigates — built in the early 1970s — to make way for the 30-year-old Perry-class boats. The two Perry-class frigates will cost Taiwan about NT$5.5 billion (US$176.8 million).
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