Biden Signs Annual Defense Bill that Calls for Inviting Taiwan to RIMPAC
On December 27, President Joe Biden signed an annual defense bill into law with provisions aimed at improving Taiwan’s asymmetric defensive capabilities and strengthening defense and security cooperation, including inviting Taiwan to the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC).
Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022 NDAA), which authorizes $770 billion in funding for the Department of Defense. The bill also includes sections related to Taiwan.
Section 1246 of the act calls on the U.S. to continue supporting the “development of capable, ready, and modern defense forces necessary for Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.” This extends to conducting practical training and military exercises with Taiwan, with 2022’s RIMPAC exercise mentioned specifically.
RIMPAC, hosted every two years by the U.S. Pacific Fleet near Hawaii, is the world’s largest international maritime military exercise. Taiwan has never been formally invited to participate in the exercise.
Section 1247 asks the U.S. to maintain the capacity to resist a “fait accompli” that would jeopardize the security of the people of Taiwan. The act defines “fait accompli” as the resort to force by China to invade and seize control of Taiwan before the U.S. can respond effectively.
Section 1248 calls on the Secretary of Defense to perform an annual assessment of matters related to Taiwan, including intelligence matters, Taiwan’s asymmetric defensive capabilities, and how defensive shortcomings or vulnerabilities of Taiwan could be mitigated through cooperation, modernization, or integration.
Section 1249 asks the Secretary of Defense to provide the congressional defense committees a briefing by February 15, 2022, on the “feasibility and advisability” of enhanced cooperation between the U.S. National Guard and Taiwan.
In response, Taiwan’s representative office in the U.S. expressed gratitude to the Biden Administration and the Congress “for their staunch support in ensuring peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also thanked the U.S. for reiterating its commitment to Taiwan’s security and reaffirming in the FY 2022 NDAA that the “Taiwan Relations Act” and the “Six Assurances” are the cornerstones of U.S.-Taiwan relations.
 Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4390602
 Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202112280004
 Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2021/12/29/2003770365
Taiwan Condemns China over Police Raid of Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy News Outlet
Taiwan’s government and its two major parties have condemned China after police raided the Hong Kong offices of pro-democracy media outlet Stand News, froze its assets, and arrested senior staff for “conspiracy to publish seditious publications.”
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the government agency in charge of cross-strait affairs, said the raid and arrests were just the latest measures the Chinese Communist regime had taken to suppress Hong Kong’s press freedom, despite stipulations in the city’s Basic Law that guarantee residents of the special administrative region freedom of speech, press, and publication.
It was also further proof of the hypocrisy of the “one country, two systems” administrative formula China had promised to Hong Kong, the MAC said in a press release. Taiwan’s government condemned all forms of misconduct in suppressing human rights and freedom and called on all parties involved to stop serving as accomplices of Beijing.
The MAC comments were a reference to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a treaty signed by the Chinese and British governments prior to the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, in which China agreed to allow Hong Kong considerable political autonomy for fifty years under a framework known as “one country, two systems.”
Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the arrests of current and former senior staff at Stand News — including Cantopop star and pro-democracy activist Denise Ho — once again showed the world that the Chinese Communist government had broken its promise to preserve the many freedoms Hong Kong enjoys that are not found in China’s other cities.
Hong Kong’s government also revamped its electoral system to ensure that only pro-Beijing “patriots” will be allowed to stand for election in a move to further silence the city’s democratic voice, the DPP said in a press release, while urging the international community to continue to closely monitor the latest developments in the city.
Echoing this sentiment, Taiwan’s main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) also voiced its concerns over the arrests and the raid, urging the authorities in China to respect the younger generation’s view on democratic values and freedom of expression in Hong Kong.