2024-0705: U.S. House Passes Military Aid for Taiwan; VP Hsiao Thanks U.S. at AIT’s Independence Day Celebration

U.S. House Passes Bill with Military Aid for Taiwan

On June 28, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an appropriations bill for fiscal year 2025 that includes US$500 million in military aid for Taiwan.
The appropriations bill (H.R. 8771), which authorizes funding for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for 2025, passed 212-200 in the Republican-led House.
The bill stipulates that the U.S. would provide no less than US$500 million in foreign military financing for Taiwan to strengthen deterrence across the Taiwan Strait, and offer Taiwan up to US$2 billion in loans and loan guarantees for the same purpose.
The funding will be made available under the U.S.’ “Foreign Military Financing Program,” which enables U.S. partners to purchase American defense articles, services and training, according to the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
In addition, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, shall prioritize the delivery of defense articles and services for Taiwan, the bill says.
The provisions are in line with the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act, which was consolidated into the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Under the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act, the U.S. would provide up to US$10 billion (US$2 billion per year) in foreign military financing for Taiwan over five years from 2023 to 2027.
Apart from military financing, the appropriations bill includes an amendment sponsored by Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) that would prevent the spending of funds to enforce the State Department’s self-imposed restrictions on high-level U.S.-Taiwan visits and communications as outlined in the “Revised Guidelines on Interacting with Taiwan.”
The bill also states that no funding should be used to “create, procure, or display any map that inaccurately depicts the territory and social and economic system of Taiwan and the islands or island groups administered by Taiwan authorities.”
The bill authorizes at least US$4 million in funding for the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) — a cooperation initiative established by the U.S. and Taiwan in 2015 — under the “Economic Support Fund.”
Under the bill, the U.S. will also allocate $400 million to the “Countering PRC Influence Fund” to counter the influence of the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Chinese Communist Party and entities acting on their behalf globally.
Following the House’s approval of the bill, the U.S. Senate, in which the ruling Democratic Party holds a majority, is expected to introduce and vote on its version of the bill.
After the Senate passes its bill, the two chambers would need to work out the differences in their bills before submitting a finalized version for the president to sign into law.

[1] Focus Taiwan
[2] Taipei Times
[3] Taiwan News

Taiwan VP Hsiao Thanks U.S. as AIT Celebrates Independence Day in Taipei

On July 2, Taiwan’s Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim expressed gratitude to the United States for supporting Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities and calling for cross-Taiwan Strait peace during a reception organized by the U.S. de facto embassy in Taiwan to mark July 4 Independence Day.
In her address during the event organized by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to celebrate the 248th anniversary of Independence Day, Hsiao sent congratulations to America for founding a nation built on principles of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Democracy and freedom have become “essential elements of Taiwanese identity and the cornerstone of Taiwan-U.S. relations,” Hsiao said, citing Taiwan’s decades of democratic development and the latest presidential and legislative elections this January.
As Taiwan’s former top envoy to Washington from 2020 to 2023, Hsiao said she has had “a front-row seat in observing and working to deepen, broaden and strengthen the Taiwan-U.S. partnership.”
In her speech, Hsiao also referenced several achievements made by Taipei and Washington in recent years, including signing the first agreement under the Taiwan-U.S. Initiative on 21st-Century Trade in June 2023.
The deal has brought Taiwanese and American businesses and people closer together, Hsiao said, adding Taiwan’s government hopes both sides can move forward and resolve issues such as double taxation.
On the international front, Taiwan is grateful to the U.S. for enabling it to share its expertise and experiences in dealing with complex global challenges on the world stage, she said.
“This does demonstrate that a very robust Taiwan-U.S. relationship is also good for the world. And we certainly intend to continue to be that force for good in the world as a solid partner of the United States,” she said.
Taiwan also appreciates U.S. support for Taiwan’s defense capacities in the face of the growing military threat from China, she added.
Given AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk’s three-year tenure is nearing its end, Hsiao thanked the envoy for her dedication to enhancing Taiwan-U.S. relations.
Oudkirk said the U.S. appreciates Hsiao’s “steady leadership in the face of an increasingly complex geopolitical environment.”
“I am confident that the friendship between Taiwan and the United States will continue to blossom under President Lai Ching-te’s leadership and the tenure of my successor,” Oudkirk said.
She said that the AIT remains committed to working with Taiwan in advancing the shared vision of a free, open, resilient, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
“We thank Taiwan for serving as a partner to the United States and promoting democratic values around the world,” Oudkirk said.

[1] Focus Taiwan
[2] Taipei Times