Taiwan and the US are to expand the scope of their joint military training “in ways we have never seen before,” US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers said on Tuesday.
Hammond-Chambers made the remarks on the final day of the annual US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in Richmond, Virginia, when asked about the progress made at this year’s event.
“We’re going to see significant and substantive changes to the way in which the United States and Taiwan train, ways we just have not seen before,” he said.
Taiwan and the US have an ongoing F-16 jet pilot training program, and the scope of bilateral military training would soon be largely expanded, Hammond-Chambers said.
“I’m talking about with the US Navy, I’m talking about with the US Army and I’m also talking interoperability. And that’s all going to roll out,” he said.
Asked whether Washington is on board with expanding and increasing training cooperation with Taiwan, he said: “100 percent.”
US and NATO forces have been training with their Ukrainian counterparts since 2014, Hammond-Chambers said.
“That’s obviously had a significant impact on how the Ukrainian forces have performed, but also the ability, for the two sides, to communicate,” he said.
That is why Taiwan and the US would soon expand their training programs, as much more “substantive training” in the Taiwan-US relationship is needed, he said.
“And that’s going to happen. We’re not quite sure how it’s going to look, but as time progresses, we’re going to see far more communication and training between the two sides. And that’s a great development,” he added.
Hammond-Chambers did not offer a timetable on when expanded military training would begin, saying only that it would begin sometime next year, once the US Congress approves the necessary funding.
Even as joint training programs might be ramped up, Taiwan has been facing problems obtaining the weapons it has purchased from the US, said Laura Cressey, director of the Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers, which operates under the US Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.
Cressy’s attendance at the closed-door conference was significant, as she was the first department official to appear at the event since 2011 and the first official from the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs since the event’s launch in 2002.
Cressey said Washington would speed up the delivery of arms to Taiwan amid rising threats from China, a person who attended the meeting said.
Taiwan is not the only country facing delays in weapons deliveries, as many US allies are facing the same problem, the source cited Cressey as saying during her address on Tuesday morning.
Washington is doing its best to speed up the delivery process and is working with other global partners to meet Taiwan’s needs by encouraging them to help Taipei acquire key weapons systems.
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