The US government is appropriating funding to help Taiwan participate in its International Military Education & Training (IMET) program to enhance interoperability and capabilities for joint operations of the Taiwanse and US militaries.
The funding for Taiwan’s participation in the program is mentioned in the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023, a US$1.7 trillion spending bill funding the US federal government for the fiscal year 2023. It covers funding for military support for Ukraine, defense spending and regions affected by natural disasters.
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that IMET is an important US security assistance initiative, which aims to bolster regional defense capabilities and maintain peace by offering professional training and education to military personnel around the world.
“IMET has been proven to be an effective means to strengthen the military and international alliances, which are crucial for the US to reach its national security goals,” the institute said.
“The program helps build professional and personal links at the level of defense leaders, who often play key roles during transitions in democratic countries,” it said.
“The program allows defense leaders to reach consensus on the common challenges facing the nations and form partnerships to cope with them,” the institute said.
The program — guided by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and enforced by the US Department of Defense — has over the years been hosting outstanding military officers from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America to train with the US military, based on media coverage of the program.
While the act does not reveal details on how Taiwan would participate in the IMET program, diplomatic observers said that it might refer to the military training partnership between Taiwanese armed forces and the US National Guard.
US Senator Tammy Duckworth expressed a high level of interest in forming such a partnership during her two visits to Taiwan last year.
Taiwan’s All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency was reported to have a liaison officer in Washington as part of the Taiwan Military Advisory Group in the US to coordinate related affairs.
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