Biden signs annual defense bill suggesting Taiwan RIMPAC invite

United States President Joe Biden signed an annual defense bill into law Monday with provisions aimed at improving Taiwan's asymmetric capabilities and enhancing defense and security cooperation, including possibly inviting Taiwan to the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC).

Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, which authorizes US$770 billion in funding for the Defense Department. The bill includes provisions related to Taiwan from section 1246 to 1249, according to the text of the bill released.

The bill asks Washington to continue supporting the "development of capable, ready, and modern defense forces necessary for Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability."

This extends to conducting practical training and military exercises with Taiwan, with 2022's RIMPAC exercise mentioned specifically.

RIMPAC, hosted every two years by the U.S. Pacific Fleet near Hawaii, is the world's largest international maritime military exercise. Taiwan has never been invited to participate in the exercise before.

In addition, the bill calls on the U.S. secretary of defense to perform an annual assessment of matters related to Taiwan, including intelligence matters, Taiwan's asymmetric defensive capabilities, and how defensive shortcomings or vulnerabilities of Taiwan could be mitigated through cooperation.

The bill also recommends that the secretary of defense provide the congressional defense committees with a briefing before Feb. 15, 2022, on the feasibility and advisability of enhanced cooperation between the National Guard and Taiwan.

In response, Taiwan's representative office in the U.S. expressed gratitude to the Biden Administration and the Congress "for their staunch support in ensuring peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the Indo-Pacific region."

The NDAA is the name for each of a series of U.S. federal laws specifying the annual budget and expenditures of the Department of Defense. The first NDAA was passed in 1961.

The authorization bill is the jurisdiction of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. It determines the agencies responsible for defense, establishes recommended funding levels, and sets the policies under which money will be spent.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel