US National Defense Act Calls for Navy Ships to Visit Taiwan

The US Senate Armed Services Committee has passed the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2018, which includes provisions for the reestablishment of regular ports of call by the US Navy at Kaohsiung and other suitable ports in Taiwan.

The committee voted unanimously 27-0 to pass the act, according United States Senate Armed Services Committee website. Wall Street Journal and other media outlets are reporting the committee voted 21-6, but agree the bill received bipartisan support. The NDAA is expected to be moved to the Senate floor July 2017.

Senator James Inhofe, co-chair of the Senate Taiwan Caucus authored the provisions to strengthen US- Taiwan military ties. Inhofe included language that would implement a program of technical assistance to support Taiwan’s growing submarine program. Another provision that Inhofe supported would extend an invitation to Taiwan to the annual joint military exercises RIMPAC and Red Flag.

The executive summary of the NDAA includes the following text:

(The committee markup) “Reestablishes regular ports of call by the U.S. Navy at Kaohsiung or any other suitable ports in Taiwan and permits U.S. Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwan; directs the Department to implement a program of technical assistance to support Taiwanese efforts to develop indigenous undersea warfare capabilities, including vehicles and sea mines; and expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should strengthen and enhance its long-standing partnership and strategic cooperation with
Taiwan.”

US Navy ships have not made visits to Taiwan since the US broke off diplomatic relations in 1979.

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