Senate, House pass pro-Taiwan 2020 defense bill

Senate, House committees pass 2020 NDAA defense calling for boosting Taiwan's military

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(By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Armed Services Committees of the U.S. House and Senate have now both passed drafts of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2020 which calls for improving Taiwan's defense capabilities to counter China's increasing military muscle.

The Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House passed the NDAA for 2020 on Thursday (June 13). Although the content of the bill has not yet been published, Congressman Adam Smith, D-Wash., chair of the House Armed Services Committee, released a version of the bill on June 10, which mentions that the U.S. should strengthen its defense cooperation with Taiwan and continue to sell arms to the country.

According to a CNA report published on Thursday, the draft issued by the House's Armed Services Committee included a section for Taiwan titled "Implementation of Taiwan's National Defense Strategy." On the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, the committee recognized that the act and the Six Assurances are the cornerstone of U.S.-Taiwan relations, and agreed that the U.S. should strengthen its defense cooperation with Taiwan and support Taiwan's development of capable, well-prepared, and modern defense forces in order to maintain adequate self-defense capabilities.

The draft bill requires the U.S. to promote exchanges to enhance Taiwan's security, including military training and exercises, and to promote exchanges between senior defense officials and military officers based on the Taiwan Travel Act.

The draft also requires that the U.S. Defense Department, together with the Secretary of State, submit a report on the support of Taiwan's national defense strategy to relevant congressional committees by Oct. 1, 2019, at the latest. The report includes assessing Taiwan's existing and potential threats and discussing future plans to support Taiwan's development and integration of self-defense capabilities.

According to UDN, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a Senate version of the NDAA in May, which also pointed out that the U.S. should strengthen its cooperation with Taiwan in defense and security, and should strongly support arms sales to Taiwan.