United States steps up defence cooperation with Taiwan

In moves which enhance Taiwan-US relations, the United States President Donald Trump has signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018, while the US government also released its National Security Strategy. The documents, which were respectively signed and released on 12 and 18 December, both pledge to strengthen ties between Taiwan and the United States.

Section 1259 of the NDAA states that ‘it is the policy of the United States to reinforce its commitments to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act and consistent with the “six assurances” as both governments work to improve Taiwan’s self-defense capability.’ It adds that it is the sense of the US Congress that the US should invite the armed forces of Taiwan to participate in military exercises and to consider reestablishing port of call exchanges between the navies of Taiwan and the US.

Furthermore, the US government’s National Security Strategy reiterates its firm commitment to Taiwan’s security. It states, ‘we will maintain our strong ties with Taiwan in accordance with our “One China” policy, including our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide for Taiwan’s legitimate defense needs and deter coercion.’

In addition to being a positive step in the development of Taiwan-US relations, the US reaffirmation of its security commitment to Taiwan is also a testament to its appreciation of Taiwan’s status as a key economic and security partner in the Asia Pacific region. As a responsible stakeholder in the international community, Taiwan will continue contributing to regional security and stability through strengthening its relations with the US and other likeminded countries.