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《TAIPEI TIMES》 US eyes Taiwan military financing

The US Capitol Building is pictured in Washington on April 23.
Photo: EPA-EFE

The US Capitol Building is pictured in Washington on April 23. Photo: EPA-EFE

2024/06/05 03:00

/ Staff writer, with CNA

The US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Monday introduced a bill which would provide US$500 million in foreign military financing for Taiwan to bolster deterrence across the Taiwan Strait.

The Fiscal Year 2025 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Bill would also offer Taiwan up to US$2 billion in loans and loan guarantees for the same purpose, the committee said.

Other efforts to curb the influence of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) found in the bill include providing US$2.1 billion for US national security interests in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as US$400 million in funding for the Countering PRC Influence Fund.

Appropriations Committee chairman Tom Cole of the Republican Party said the bill “sends a clear message that the United States will do what’s necessary to protect our interests.”

The bill is scheduled to be reviewed by the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee on Tuesday, but still has several hurdles to clear before it can become law.

The chairman of the subcommittee, Mario Diaz-Balart, also a Republican, said the proposed legislation would continue to advance global freedom and show strong solidarity with US allies.

It is aimed at “upholding key US priorities such as supporting strategic allies like Israel and Taiwan, and countering adversaries such as communist China, the terrorist states of Iran and Cuba, and terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah,” he said.

In other news, Steven Rudder, a retired US Marine Corps officer, and representatives of 27 US defense contractors have arrived in Taiwan to meet with President William Lai (賴清德) and attend a forum to increase cooperation on defense technologies.

The group of defense industry representatives and Rudder arrived in Taiwan late on Monday to attend the Taiwan-US Defense Industry Forum to be held tomorrow, a source familiar with the matter said.

Aside from attending the half-day forum, the delegation would also visit Taiwan’s top military research unit, the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, and its chief aerospace company, Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (漢翔航空), to discuss potential cooperation on uncrewed aerial vehicles and defense technologies, the source said.

Organized by the Taipei-based Taiwan Defense Industry Development Association and the Arlington, Texas-based US-Taiwan Business Council, the forum is to feature addresses by representatives of the association and council, as well as by Rudder, the source said.

Rudder is a nonresident senior fellow in the Indo-Pacific Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

He retired as the commanding general of Marine Forces Pacific in September 2022 after leading an organization of 80,000 people responsible for all US Marine operations in the Asia-Pacific region, according to his Atlantic Council biography.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Yeong-kang (陳永康), a retired navy admiral, is also to give a keynote address during the forum at the Taipei International Convention Center, which is to be attended by experts and representatives from defense companies.

Some of the topics to be touched on would be Taiwan’s domestic warship and warplane projects, and advanced defense technologies and drones, according to a tentative itinerary released by its organizers.

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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