The White House is to be urged to sell more asymmetric weapons systems to Taiwan in a new congressional commission report due out next month.
In a series of eight recommendations, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission is to push the US Congress to generally increase support for the nation.
An advanced draft of the commission’s annual report — made available to the Taipei Times — says Congress should urge Washington to provide timely notifications on US arms sales to Taiwan “to ensure the US is upholding its obligations as outlined in the Taiwan Relations Act [TRA].”
It also says that Congress should direct the US administration to invite Taiwan to participate as at least an observer at US-led bilateral and multilateral military and security exercises, including the Rim of the Pacific and Cyber Storm exercises.
Other recommendations include an increase in public support for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, expanding economic cooperation and the production of a major report on the nation’s role in the US’ Asia strategy.
In addition, next month’s report is to ask Congress to support funding for the Pentagon to train US military officers in Taiwan and increase the numbers of Taiwanese officers being trained in the US.
The report says that fears are now widespread in Taiwan about economic coercion and China’s “encroachment.”
It says the younger generation in Taiwan appears willing to take visible and substantial steps to assert their national identity.
“These trends have the potential to create stress on the ability of the US to meet its obligations under the TRA,” the report says.
Taiwan and the US “share a close relationship based on common democratic values,” it says, adding that trade between the two nations is at a record high.
However: “China’s military modernization continues to focus on its ability to conduct military operations against Taiwan and deter the US from defending Taiwan in a potential conflict,” it says.
“Although Taiwan has improved its defense capabilities through a combination of domestic production and acquisition of arms from the US, the cross-strait military balance of power continues to shift strongly in China’s favor,” it says.
The report says that “some observers” assert the US could do more to support Taiwan’s defensive capabilities.
It quotes one expert as saying that the nation needs undersea mines, air and missile defense systems, as well as land-based anti-ship cruise missiles.
Other experts are quoted as saying that the US should support the nation’s indigenous submarine program by signaling its intention to approve licenses for potential US defense industry participants.
“The US-Taiwan relationship remains robust, despite the limitations posed by the lack of formal relations between the two governments,” the draft report says.
“Taiwan remains vital to US geopolitical interests in Asia and important for regional security,” it says.
The US relies on Taiwan as a “bastion of democracy” in East Asia and as a like-minded force for peace and security, it adds.
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