Two Republican members of the US House of Representatives on Wednesday introduced the Taiwan Security Act to enhance military cooperation and exchanges between the US and Taiwan.
The legislation, initiated by US representatives Michael McCaul and Robert Pittenger, echoed a bill introduced in the US Senate in July by Republican Senator Tom Cotton.
The bill would mandate senior defense and diplomatic exchanges between the US and Taiwan at the flag officer and assistant secretary level or above, and reestablish an annual strategic dialogue between the US and Taiwan on arms sales in order to ensure the regular transfer of defense articles.
It would direct the US secretary of defense to invite Taiwanese forces to participate in next year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise and Red Flag air-to-air combat exercise.
It would also require US Navy port visits to Taiwan and vice versa, and expresses US congressional support for Taiwan’s plan to spend 3 percent of its GDP on defense and its ongoing efforts to suspend all economic ties with North Korea.
McCaul urged Washington to “stand firm behind our ally Taiwan” and stop allowing its foreign policy to be dictated by China, which he described as “a nation that continuously bullies its neighbors, undermines US economic and national security, threatens global trade in the South China Sea, and has refused to use its leverage over North Korea to help resolve the crisis on the Korean peninsula.”
“While respecting our ‘one-China’ policy, we must return to our normal process for approving arms sales to Taiwan and encouraging their participation alongside the US on the international stage when and where appropriate,” he said in the statement.
Pittenger said the US’ relationship with China is challenged through their current provocations in the South China Sea, cyberthreats, business investments that impact US national security and economic support for North Korea.
“This legislation strengthens our relationship with the freedom-loving people of Taiwan and provides a necessary counter-balance to China’s increased aggressiveness in the region,” he added.
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