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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Proposed National Guard-Taiwan partnership will boost island's defense: U.S. senator

ROC Central News Agency

08/11/2021 06:34 PM

Washington, Aug. 10 (CNA) United States Senator Tammy Duckworth on Tuesday said her proposed partnership program between the U.S. National Guard and Taiwan's armed forces would help strengthen the island's defense capabilities.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, Duckworth said she was concerned about China's threats against Taiwan and that the latter's defense capabilities need to be boosted in order to deter Beijing.

One way of creating the deterrence effect is to build a "habitual relationship" between the U.S National Guard and Taiwan's defense forces, said Duckworth, a war veteran who previously served as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"So I have a proposal to bring Taiwan into that type of relationship with one of the national guards from one of our states," she said, referring to a bill that was introduced in the U.S. Senate last month.

"You're going to see that we're going to have a much more persistent and more visible presence of the United States when it comes to Taiwan and the Taiwan Straits," Duckworth said.

She said the proposed cooperation between the National Guard and Taiwan armed forces would be similar to the State Partnership Program (SPP) that the U.S. has established with more than 80 nations over the past two decades.

The draft Taiwan Partnership Act, introduced last month by Duckworth and other senators, calls for the establishment of a partnership program between the U.S. National Guard and Taiwanese defense forces, in order to "ensure a well-integrated defense force capable of fast deployment during a crisis," according to one of the co-sponsors Senator John Cornyn.

The SPP, which links a U.S. state's National Guard with the armed forces of a partner country, has become a key security cooperation tool, the National Guard says on its website.

The program facilitates cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs while encouraging people-to-people ties at the state level, the website says.

Meanwhile, Duckworth, who visited Taiwan briefly in June and announced the U.S.' donation of COVID-19 vaccines, said she would lead a congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific region in autumn, focusing on economic issues. She did not say, however, which nations they planned to visit.

"The U.S. needs to be there, needs to be present to provide an alternative to the People's Republic of China, both in terms of national security being there, but also economically as well," she said, pushing for a stronger economic and military presence by the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region.

(By Stacy Hsu and Teng Pei-ju)

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