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Taiwan Assurance Act to give flexibility to U.S. arms sales: analyst

ROC Central News Agency

12/28/2020 09:40 PM

Taipei, Dec. 28 (CNA) The Taiwan Assurance Act of 2020, included in the omnibus spending package signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday, should give the United States more flexibility in selling arms to Taiwan, a Taiwanese analyst has said.

Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a senior analyst at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR), told CNA on Monday that the act, which supports Taiwan's defense capacity and international participation, can be viewed from both military and diplomatic perspectives.

From a military perspective, it indicates that American sales of armaments to Taiwan is shifting from what has been a trend of "regularization" to a trend of "normalization," Su said.

"It means that the process of transferring U.S. defense articles to Taiwan will be more flexible, more institutionalized and met with less political interference," Su argued.

"The act essentially grants more power to the State Department and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to assess arms sales deals to Taiwan," he said.

The act specifies that "the United States should conduct regular sales and transfers of defense articles to Taiwan in order to enhance its self-defense capabilities," focusing especially on asymmetric capabilities such as undersea warfare and air defense systems.

From a diplomatic perspective, the legislation expresses congressional support for Taiwan's "meaningful participation" in international organizations in areas such as public health and civil aviation, but not in military or security spheres, Su said.

This use of universal values will help maximize international support for Taiwan, he said.

Passage of the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2020 also showed bipartisan support for Taiwan in the U.S. Congress and its respect for Taiwan's will to defend itself from external threats, Su said.

The U.S. government has approved 11 sales of weapons systems to Taiwan since Trump took office in January 2017, including 66 F-16V fighter jets and 100 harpoon coastal defense systems (HCDS).

Meanwhile, Lee Che-chuan (李哲全), director of the Division of National Security and Decision-Making at INDSR, said the U.S. Congress clearly depicted Beijing's military threat to Taiwan and its attempt to isolate Taiwan on the international stage in the act.

Lee said that while the act may be hard to enforce, it will push the U.S. government to put greater importance on U.S.-Taiwan relations and provide concrete support for Taiwan's security and international space.

Among its provisions, the advocacy of Taiwan's participation in international organizations for which statehood is not a requirement for membership, showed the U.S. Congress' backing for Taiwan's international participation, he said.

(By Matt Yu, Chen Yun-yu and Emerson Lim)


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