Trump will not send U.S. Navy to Taiwan: former AIT officials

National Defense Authorization Act signed Tuesday allows mutual Navy visits

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Trump after the signing of the NDAA for 2018.

Trump after the signing of the NDAA for 2018. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – United States President Donald Trump is unlikely to send Navy vessels to Taiwan any time soon, said former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) officials Richard Bush and Douglas Paal.

Trump signed the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2018, which allows mutual Navy visits, on Tuesday, just days after a senior Chinese diplomat based in Washington warned that a U.S. vessel arriving in Kaohsiung would lead to Chinese military action against the island.

Former AIT Chairman Richard Bush described the passage about the Navy visits as the most sensitive item in the NDAA, but also emphasized it amounted to a “Sense of Congress,” meaning it was not binding and did not demand action from the president, the Central News Agency reported.

Former AIT Director Douglas Paal held a similar view, saying the Executive branch of government would take note of the “exhortations” from the Legislative branch, but it was still in charge of foreign policy according to the Constitution.

The U.S. administration would hold an overall view of the wider picture in foreign relations, including of policies with China, Paal said.

Walter Lohman, the director of the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, told CNA that Trump’s statement meant that the ultimate decisions on foreign policy should be made by him, but that he had to listen to the opinions and views of Congress as well.