US military bill provides up to $10 billion to boost Taiwan

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress is expected to start voting as early as Wednesday on a massive military policy bill that includes authorizing up to $10 billion in security aid and accelerated arms procurement for Taiwan, as China exerts pressure on the democratically governed island.

The compromise version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, does not include some controversial provisions of Taiwanese law proposed earlier this year, including penalties for “significantly escalating ‘aggression’ against Taiwan by China, or a proposal that Taiwan be treated as a ‘major non-NATO ally’.

China regards Taiwan as its territory and has never

renounced the use of force to bring it under his control. Beijing reacted angrily when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved broader legislation on Taiwan in September, despite concerns within President Joe Biden’s administration that the bill could go too far in aggravating tensions with China.

The Senate and House Armed Services Committees unveiled the NDAA on Tuesday evening. The $858 billion military policy bill is expected to pass Congress and sign it into law this month.

The “Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act” included in the NDAA authorizes appropriations for military assistance to Taiwan of up to $2 billion per year from 2023 to 2027, if the US Secretary of State certifies that Taiwan has increased its spending by defense.

It also includes a new foreign military financing loan guarantee authority and other measures to speed up the supply of weapons to Taiwan, as well as the creation of a new training program to improve Taiwan’s defense.

“Taiwan’s 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 Committee on foreign relations and sponsor of Taiwan legislation.

Passed every year since 1961, the NDAA covers everything from pay raises for soldiers and the number of planes that can be purchased to strategies for dealing with geopolitical threats.

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

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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