Taiwan-friendly ARIA bill passes Senate and House

The ARIA bill will increase US engagement and strengthen alliances across the Indo-Pacific region

The US Capitol

The US Capitol (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A bill aimed at deepening US engagement in the Indo-Pacific region has been passed by both the Senate and the House, and is expected to further enhance cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. Taiwan's Foreign Ministry expresses gratitude for the bipartisan support shown by Congress on Tuesday.

The Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) was introduced into the Senate in April 2018, and is designed to serve as a policy framework for improving U.S. leadership in the Indo-Pacific region.

The ARIA legislation will demonstrate a U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and the rules-based international order. It aims to not only preserve U.S. national security interests in Asia, but also promote the country's businesses and employment through trade opportunities.

ARIA will request a budget of US$1.5 billion over a five year period to enhance economic, diplomatic and security cooperation with strategic allies in the region, including Taiwan. It also advises the White House to sell arms to Taiwan on a regular basis for the country's legitimate self-defense needs, and to send top administration officials to Taipei in accordance with the Taiwan Travel Act.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday that the two countries share the same values and pursue a shared vision for the Indo-Pacific region, and that the country will continue to dedicate itself to regional peace, stability, and prosperity.

The bill was passed by the Senate on Dec. 4, and the House on Dec. 12, respectively. The bill is due to become a law within days.