Taiwan Presidential Office thanks U.S. House NDAA passage

House to request Pentagon to present evaluation report on Navy visits

U.S. Congress (photo by Martin Falbisoner). (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Presidential Office on Saturday thanked the United States House of Representatives for passing the National Defense Appropriation Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2018, which includes a request for an official report on the issue of Taiwanese and U.S. Navy vessels visiting each other’s harbors.

The administration of President Donald Trump approved the sale of a US$1.42 billion arms package to Taiwan last month in the latest sign that the two countries were still close despite protests by China.

Nevertheless, earlier in the week, American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty seemed to throw doubt on such a move, calling visits by U.S. Navy ships to Taiwanese harbors potentially dangerous.

The NDAA package approved by the House on Friday local time included a request for the Secretary of Defense to present a report by September 1, 2018 evaluating the issue of visits by Taiwanese and U.S. Navy ships to each other’s ports, specifically mentioning Hawaii and Guam.

A version of the NDAA still to be considered by the Senate reportedly only mentioned the topic as a “sense,” a slightly less precise wording which did not warrant a report from the Department of Defense.

The two diverging versions will have to be discussed before a unified text can be agreed on to present to the president for his signature.

In Taipei Saturday, presidential spokesman Sydney Lin said the country would continue to strengthen its own defense capabilities, while thanking the attention the U.S. Congress paid to the island’s defense and security and to the U.S.-Taiwan security relationship.