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Potential Taiwan-US joint military exercise good for Taiwan and regional security: Premier

Taiwan welcomes potential US involvement in annual Han Kuang Exercise

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William Lai.

William Lai. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan's Premier, William Lai (賴清德) said that a potential joint military exercise between Taiwan and the U.S. would be good for the security of both Taiwan and neighboring countries on August 2, reported CNA.

Lai said during an interview with FTV that the decision for joint military exercises between Taiwan and the U.S. was entirely up to the U.S., and Taiwan hopes to participate.

On Aug. 1 the U.S. senate passed the final version of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes provisions to improve Taiwan's defensive capacity, including sale military hardware, military training and personnel exchange.

When asked about joint military exercises in the context of Taiwan's annual Han Kuang Exercise, he said that he would welcome U.S. involvement, but again, the decision was up to the U.S.

Lai said that countries in the region are becoming increasingly worried about China's military expansion in the East China Sea and South China Sea (SCS), and in this context he hopes to consolidate Taiwan's national defense.

Former chief of Australia's armed forces, Mark Binskin made similar comments last month, when he said China's military build-up in the SCS had lost the trust of its neighbors.

Lai said that for the past two years, China has been trying to limit Taiwan's international participation. He cited China's blocking of Taiwan's involvement in the World Health Assembly, recent airlines scandal and canceling of the 2019 East Asia Youth Games in Taichung City (臺中市).

Lai added that Taiwan was very happy that the U.S. passed the NDAA and for the U.S. to continue to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons.