US Defense Act Calls for Improving Taiwan’s Self-Defense Capabilities

The US Congress’ Armed Services Committee will review the draft National Defense Authorization Act for 2019 today, according to Voice of America Chinese language news service. The draft includes provisions to strengthen US-Taiwan military cooperation, expanding joint military training, arms sales to Taiwan, security cooperation, and high level military exchanges.

The draft of the act, HR 5515, FY19 National Defense Authorization Bill, was released by Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, May 7. Section 1243 – Strengthening Taiwan’s Force Readiness states:

“This section would direct the Secretary of Defense to conduct a comprehensive assessment, in consultation with appropriate counterparts of Taiwan, on ways to enhance and reform Taiwan’s military forces, particularly Taiwan’s reserve forces. The assessment would also require the development of recommendations to strengthen bilateral cooperation and improve Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities. The Secretary of defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, would be required to submit a report on the assessment and a list of recommendations and planned actions to the appropriate congressional committees not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.”

A summary accompanying the draft bill states that “China, governed by the dictates of the Chinese Communist Party, is working to undermine the world order which has existed since the end of World War II.” The proposed bill calls for a “whole of government strategy to confront the People’s Republic of China.”

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