WASHINGTON (CNA) – A U.S. congressional commission on Wednesday recommended that the administration of President Donald Trump give more support to Taiwan’s efforts to enhance its defense capabilities by adopting such steps as inviting Taiwan to military exercises and increasing high-level exchanges with Taiwan’s military.
In its 2017 annual report to the U.S. Congress, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) said Congress should urge the administration to invite Taiwan to participate, at least as an observer, in U.S-led bilateral and multilateral military and security-related exercises, including the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise, Red Flag air-to-air combat training exercises and the Cyber Storm cybersecurity exercise.
USCC also recommended that Congress urge the executive branch to reexamine its practice regarding reciprocal visits by senior U.S. and Taiwan military officers and civilian officials, including Cabinet-level officials and senior National Security Council officials, as part of an effort to enhance U.S.-Taiwan relations.
In addition, Congress should ensure relevant U.S. military personnel are sufficiently familiar with Taiwan’s defense situation by allocating funds for U.S. military personnel to take courses at Taiwan’s defense educational institutions and in an unofficial capacity through the American Institute in Taiwan, the commission said.
It noted that Taiwan is engaged in a robust program to enhance its defensive capabilities through domestic defense industrial production, the procurement of U.S. weapons systems and its transition to an all-volunteer force.
However, these efforts face a major challenge from the scope and speed of the modernization of the Chinese military, the commission added.
Politically, Beijing continues to increase pressure on Taipei in response to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) refusal to endorse the “1992 consensus,” the USCC said.
Over the past year, Beijing’s pressure on Taipei over its participation in the international community has also become more pronounced, it added.
The USCC was created by the U.S. Congress in 2000 to monitor the impact of China on American economic and security interests.
By Chiang Chin-yeh and Y.F. Low