TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Joe Biden on Monday, December 27, signed a defense spending bill that includes sections calling for Taiwan’s participation in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 and recommending strengthening Taiwan’s asymmetric defense capabilities.
On December 7, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022 NDAA) with a vote of 363-70. Just over a week later, on December 15, the bill passed in the Senate on December 15 with strong bipartisan support in an 88-11 vote.
When the bill arrived on Biden’s desk on Monday, he officially signed it. The $ 768.2 billion law includes $ 740 billion for the Department of Defense, which is 25 billion more than the $ 715 billion requested by Biden.
Section 1246 of the law calls for continued support to the Taiwanese military to enable it to maintain “sufficient self-defense capability.” This section of the law also states that “the Taiwanese naval forces should be invited to participate in the Rim of the Pacific exercise conducted in 2022”.
Launched in 1971 and held every two years, the US-led RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise. The US Pacific Fleet now sees the exercise as crucial to safeguarding “vital shipping lanes” and “freedom of navigation in international waters”.
Section 1247 obliges the United States to resist a “fait accompli” in the Taiwan Strait. The law defines “fait accompli” as the use of force by China to “invade and take control of Taiwan before the United States can respond effectively.”
Section 1248 recommends strengthening Taiwan’s asymmetric defenses, including “coastal defense missiles, naval mines, anti-aircraft capabilities, cyber defenses, and special operations forces.” It also calls for an intelligence assessment on Chinese military threats to Taiwan and “irregular war activities” such as influence operations, designed to undermine “peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
Article 1249 asks the Secretary of Defense to submit a report by February 15, 2022 on the “feasibility and desirability” of enhanced cooperation between the US National Guard and Taiwan.