WASHINGTON–The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed by unanimous consent legislation reaffirming the importance of the Taiwan Relations Act and authorizing the sale of four Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates to Taiwan.
The Taiwan Relations Act Affirmation and Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2014 will now be forwarded to the Senate for further actions.
The bill authorizes the sale of four frigates — the USS Taylor (FFG-50), USS Gary (FFG-51), USS Carr (FFG-52) and USS Elrod (FFG-55) — to Taiwan based on the Taiwan Relations Act, which guides U.S. arms sale policy to Taiwan and the unofficial ties between the two sides.
It states that the law has been “instrumental in maintaining peace, security and stability in the Western Pacific since its enactment in 1979.”
The legislation reaffirms Congress’ “unwavering commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act as the cornerstone of relations between the United States and Taiwan.”
It also supports “the United States commitment to Taiwan’s security in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, including Taiwan’s procurement of sophisticated weapons of a defensive character, such as F-16 C/Ds aircraft and diesel electric submarines.”
Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, who introduced the legislation, said the bill, which was passed three days before the Taiwan Relations Act celebrates its 35th anniversary, is meant to show the House’s strong support for Taiwan.
He noted that America’s support for Taiwan over the past 35 years has allowed the island nation to realize its full potential, as evidenced by Taiwan’s “monumental transformation from grinding poverty and dictatorship to a vibrant, multiparty democracy.”
“It is now more important than ever that we reaffirm our strong commitment to Taiwan and the Taiwan Relations Act,” he said.
He also praised Taiwan as “a beacon of hope and democracy in a part of the world that still yearns for the basic freedoms that Americans and Taiwanese enjoy on a daily basis.”
The legislation would also authorize the transfer of two Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates each to Thailand and Mexico.