Taiwan should be invited to RIMPAC military drill: senior US Congressman

Congressman Yoho calls for Taiwan to participate in RIMPAC military drills, greater U.S. presence in Asia-Pacific

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Congressman Yoho at CSIS on July 26.

Congressman Yoho at CSIS on July 26. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Senior Republican Party Congressman Ted Yoho called for Taiwan to be involved in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world's largest international marine military exercise during a conference in Washington on July 26.

Yoho also supported China's exclusion from the exercise for this year, saying the move "should have been done long ago," reported CNA.

The comments were made during a keynote address at the the Eighth Annual South China Sea (SCS) Conference in Washington yesterday, which was organized by prominent U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies

​Yoho welcomed expansion of RIMPAC, which will include Vietnam for the first time during the month-long exercise during July 1-31.

Taiwan is a responsible international actor, and should be involved in future RIMPAC events, he said.

In regards to China, Yoho said that U.S. policy to encourage China to become a responsible stakeholder of the international order had failed. He said that China's island building and military posture in the SCS coerced neighbors, and demonstrates Beijing's move to oppose the existing international order.

Yoho called for U.S. President Donald Trump to take clear steps against China's unilateral action in the SCS, and encouraged additional "freedom of navigation" exercises through the disputed waters.

He likened China's actions in the SCS to Russia's annexation of Crimea, saying that the U.S. should demonstrate its unwavering commitment to the Asia-Pacific. If the U.S. does not support its allies and partners in the region, China will become the dominant force in the regional order.

Yoho represents Florida's third district and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, House Committee on Foreign Affairs.