U.S. Congress compromise bill includes defense partnership with Taiwan

2017/11/09 15:28:19 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Image taken from the Senate Armed Services Committees website ( www.armed-services.senate.gov)

Image taken from the Senate Armed Services Committees website ( www.armed-services.senate.gov)

Washington, Nov. 8 (CNA) U.S. Congressional defense committees on Wednesday finalized a compromise US$700 billion defense spending plan for fiscal year 2018 that includes a provision to strengthen defense partnership with Taiwan.

The House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committees agreed on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allocates US$626 billion for base budget spending and an additional US$66 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund.

Regarding Taiwan issues, the bill states that it is "the sense of Congress" that the United States should strengthen and enhance its long-standing partnership and strategic cooperation with Taiwan.

This includes normalizing the arms sales process with Taiwan and taking steps to enhance training and exercises and promote exchanges between senior officials, according to the bill.

It also reiterates the U.S.' commitment to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act.

The House and Senate versions of the bill state that not later than Sept. 1, 2018, the U.S. Secretary of Defense should submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on an assessment regarding ports of call by the U.S. Navy at Kaohsiung or any other suitable ports in Taiwan.

The report should also include an assessment of the feasibility and advisability of permitting the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) to receive ports of call by Taiwan's navy in Hawaii, Guam and other appropriate locations, according to Senate version.

However, the clause was not mentioned in the summary of the compromise bill published Wednesday.

When the full text of the bill is published, it will be known whether the clause has been included.

To become law, the NDAA must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then signed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

(By Leaf Yeh and Evelyn Kao)
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