Obama signs legislation to sell Navy frigates to Taiwan (update)

Washington, Dec. 18 (CNA) U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law a piece of legislation that authorizes the sale of up to four Perry-class frigates to Taiwan. Taiwan wants to replace its aging fleet of Knox-class vessels with the U.S. guided missile frigates, which are being decommissioned by the U.S. Navy after some 30 years of service. The Taiwanese Navy has said it plans to buy two of the U.S. frigates initially. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a statement that the arms sales will bolster Taiwan's maritime security and its critical relationship with the United States, as guided by the Taiwan Relations Act since 1979. "Few other pieces of foreign policy legislation have been as consequential as this act. With steadfast support from the United States Congress, Taiwan has become a thriving modern society that strongly respects human rights, the rule of law, and free markets," Royce said. When enacted, the bill will allow the sale of guided missile frigates USS Gary, USS Carr, USS Taylor and USS Elrod to the Republic of China Navy, which already operates eight Cheng Kung-class frigates modeled on the 4,100-ton Perry-class ships. The four U.S. frigates were commissioned in 1984 and 1985 and are in the process of being decommissioned by the U.S. Navy. (By Tony Liao, Jay Chen and Y.F. Low)