U.S. military bill features up to $10 billion to boost Taiwan

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress is expected to begin voting on Wednesday on a major military policy bill including authorizing up to $10 billion in security aid and fast-tracking weapons purchases. for Taiwan.

The compromise version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, omits some controversial provisions Taiwanese lawmakers proposed this year, including sanctions in the event of “significant escalation of aggression” against of China’s Taiwan, or a proposal that Taiwan be considered a “major non-NATO ally.”

China considers Taiwan its territory and has never ruled out using force to bring it under its control. Beijing reacted angrily when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved broader Taiwan legislation in September despite concerns within President Joe Biden’s administration that the bill could go too far in raising tensions with China.

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The Senate and House Armed Services committees opened the NDAA on Tuesday. The $858 billion military policy bill is expected to pass Congress and be signed into law this month.

The “Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act” included in the NDAA authorizes appropriations for military grant assistance for Taiwan of up to $2 billion annually from 2023 to 2027, if the US secretary of state certifies that Taiwan increases its defense spending.

These include a new authority to guarantee foreign military loans and other measures to facilitate Taiwan’s arms purchases, as well as the creation of a training program to improve Taiwan’s defense.

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“Taiwanese democracy remains the beating heart of our Indo-Pacific strategy, and the depth and strength of our commitment to the people of Taiwan is stronger than ever,” said Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the foreign relations committee and sponsor of Taiwan law.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry expressed its gratitude for “continued strong support for Taiwan’s security”, adding that it looks forward to the passage of the law.

China held military exercises near Taiwan in August after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, and has continued its military activities near the island on a smaller scale.

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The US State Department this week approved the potential sale of $428 million in aircraft parts for Taiwan to help its air force, which has been prevented from repeatedly intercepting Chinese jets. moving around the island.

Passed every year since 1961, the NDAA has addressed everything from military pay raises and how many planes to buy to strategies for dealing with geopolitical threats.

The compromise version of the NDAA followed months of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Cynthia Osterman, Robert Birsel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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