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U.S. bill proposed to add Taiwan to 'NATO Plus' group of states

ROC Central News Agency

03/23/2021 10:44 PM

Taipei, March 23 (CNA) U.S. Representative Scott Perry has proposed a bill in Congress to include Taiwan in the NATO plus five countries.

The proposed legislation, named the "Taiwan PLUS Act," was introduced in the House of Representatives on March 19 and has since been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Voice of America's Chinese-language service reported on Tuesday.

The bill notes that support for defense cooperation with Taiwan is critical to the national security of the U.S. and urges that Taiwan be included in the so-called "NATO Plus" group, which currently includes Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel and New Zealand.

The "NATO Plus" group members are drawn from the 17 countries the U.S. has designated as "major non-NATO allies" (MNNA).

In the bill, Perry notes that Taiwan has been treated as an MNNA since 2003, although it is not formally designated as such.

MNNA status makes a country eligible for a range of defense-related privileges with the U.S., but it does not entail any additional security commitments.

The bill cites close U.S.-Taiwan ties as one of the reasons for the proposed designation, noting that Taiwan is the 10th-largest trading partner of the U.S. and was the largest buyer of U.S. arms in 2020 and the 3rd-largest in the 1950-2020 period.

Under the proposal, the designation would remain in effect for a five-year period, and could be renewed an unlimited number of times at the request of the State Department.

(By Matthew Mazzetta)

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