A bipartisan group of 13 US senators has introduced a resolution calling for the establishment of a partnership program between the US National Guard and Taiwan’s defense forces “for fast deployment during a crisis.”
US senators Rick Scott, Tammy Duckworth and John Cornyn were among the lawmakers who introduced the legislation, titled the Taiwan partnership act, in the US Senate on Tuesday.
Identical legislation was filed in the US House of Representatives.
The resolution urges the creation of a partnership between the US National Guard and Taiwan’s defense forces to “ensure a well-integrated defense force capable of fast deployment during a crisis,” Scott said in a statement.
The non-binding measure calls for increasing exchanges between defense officials and military personnel of the two nations, with the goal of enhancing Taiwan’s reserve forces and improving interoperability among its military branches.
Taiwan faces a growing level of “aggression” from Beijing, making it imperative for the US to make clear that it stands with Taiwan in defense of its democracy, Scott added.
“This legislation carries an important message to [Chinese Communist Party] General Secretary Xi [Jinping, 習近平] that we will not tolerate his threats against Taiwan’s autonomy,” he said.
Duckworth, a National Guard veteran who visited Taipei last month, said that the bill would evaluate ways to enhance cooperation with Taiwan, which she called “an important strategic partner for the US in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The National Guard is “ideally suited” to partner with Taiwan in areas such as emergency response, cyberdefense, education, cultural exchanges and advisory programs, she said.
In Taipei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) yesterday thanked the US Congress members for their continued support of Taiwan.
The ministry would watch the bill’s development, and maintain close contact with its friends in the US Congress and administration in a bid to continue to deepen their bilateral partnership, Ou said.
Meanwhile, senior diplomats from the US, Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo on Wednesday to discuss issues ranging from North Korea and COVID-19 responses to the situation in the Taiwan Strait.
US Department of State spokesman Ned Price said that Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman held talks with her counterparts, Japanese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori and South Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jong-kun.
Regarding Taiwan, they affirmed the need to maintain regional peace, unimpeded commerce and adherence to international law, “including freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and beyond,” Price said.
The discussion also emphasized the “importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he added.
Sherman, the No. 2 US diplomat, is on the first leg of a one-week trip to Japan, South Korea and Mongolia.
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