Despite China’s Protests, U.S. Remains Adamant About Taiwan’s Defense

Despite China’s Protests, U.S. Remains Adamant About Taiwan’s Defense

Three decades after the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States continues to augment Taiwan’s military capabilities—recent discussions have raised the possibility of the U.S. helping Taiwan to acquire U.S.-made frigates and a new indigenous type of diesel submarines. But China’s rising military capabilities place the island in an increasingly vulnerable position.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would authorize the sale of four Perry-class frigates to Taiwan. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ed Royce, called Taiwan “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.” Taipei, for its part, has expressed an interest in only acquiring two of the four.

When asked about the sale of the ships during his visit to China earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel emphasized the U.S. policy of selling “self-defense armaments” to Taiwan. “Nothing has changed since 1979. We still have the same policy that we've been committed to since that time,” he added, referring to provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act that permit U.S. sale of “defense articles” and “defense services” to Taiwan.

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