The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked the US Senate for passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020, which requires the Pentagon to report Chinese interference in Taiwan’s elections and create plans to boost Taiwan-US cybersecurity cooperation.
After the Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives approved the bill 377-48 on Wednesday last week, the Republican-led Senate on Tuesday passed it 86-8.
The legislation has been forwarded to the White House, with US President Donald Trump expected to sign it into law.
Photo: Tyrone Siu, Reuters
Article 5513 of the act requires the US director of national intelligence to deliver a report on Beijing’s interference or disruption campaigns targeting Taiwan’s elections and US responses to such campaigns within 45 days of an election in Taiwan.
The act also requires the US secretary of defense to submit a report on establishing a high-level and interagency US-Taiwan group to tackle new cybersecurity issues within 180 days of the act taking effect.
The Pentagon and the US Department of State would also be required to present a report within 180 days of the act’s implementation on the US’ Taiwan Relations Act; whether the Chinese government threatens Taiwan’s security, social order and economy; whether Beijing is changing the cross-strait military balance; and Taiwan’s expectation to determine its future via peaceful means.
Taiwan-US cooperation on cybersecurity is listed for the first time in the act, which also supports Taiwan’s resolve to bolster its self-defense capabilities and an increase in bilateral military exchanges, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement yesterday.
The ministry thanked the US for again demonstrating its firm support for Taiwan-US military cooperation, and for its concern about Taiwan’s democracy and freedom, she said.
The legislation provides a total of US$738 billion in base discretionary funding, as well as US$5.3 billion in emergency disaster relief funding, US Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services, said in a news release on Tuesday.
It includes landmark reforms for privatized military housing, establishes a US Space Force and ensures that US troops receive their largest pay raise (3.1 percent) in a decade, he said.
“It also sends a strong message to our allies and our adversaries, especially Russia and China. America is the leader of the free world, in large part because we are able to defend our values. This NDAA makes sure we keep it that way,” Inhofe said on Facebook.
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