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Chairman Menendez Announces Historic Inclusion of Taiwan Legislation in Annual Defense Bill

WASHINGTON – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) issued the following statement announcing key pillars of his legislation to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship will be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY23. Negotiated as a bipartisan amendment to the annual defense legislation, Menendez’s Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act (TERA), which was formerly called the Taiwan Policy Act, wasapproved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this year. 

Specifically, inclusion of the updated bill in the NDAA will dramatically enhance the United States’ defense partnership with Taiwan by establishing, for the first time ever, a specific defense modernization program for Taiwan. The TERA authorizes up to $10 billion in security assistance over the next five years to modernize Taiwan’s security capabilities to deter and, if necessary, defeat aggression by the People’s Republic of China.  The bill also requires a whole-of-government strategy to counter Chinese influence campaigns and economic coercion targeting Taiwan and countries that support Taiwan. It provides additional support for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations; advances critical cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan on issues related to public health; creates a Taiwan Fellowship Program; and directs the Executive Branch to provide Congress with new assessments on China’s nuclear threat and how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected China’s posturing vis-à-vis Taiwan.

“This national defense bill will be one of the most consequential in years not only for its support of our servicemembers, but for setting the theater for real deterrence by implementing a more resilient strategy for Taiwan should China continue pursuing a collision course toward war,” said Chairman Menendez. “China’s rapid military build-up, with new technologies and weapons that could be used against Taiwan, and its continued aggression and bullying across the Taiwan strait, in the information space and in the economic domain are upsetting the status quo and destabilizing the Indo-Pacific. The China challenge has become the most significant national security issues our nation has faced in a generation and I am incredibly proud to help Congress continue to make the necessary reforms and investments to bolster our support for Taiwan’s democracy before it is too late.”

“I want to thank Senator Graham, Ranking Member Risch and other colleagues in the Congress and the Administration for their input and good faith efforts to get these critical provisions included into the NDAA. This legislation will clarify in even starker terms the reality of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship: Taiwan’s democracy remains the beating heart to our Indo-Pacific strategy, and the depth and strength of our commitment to the people of Taiwan is stronger than ever. As we prepare to send this landmark piece of legislation to President Biden’s desk for his signature into law, I am committed to continue pursuing legislation next Congress to mobilize all the tools in the U.S. strategic, economic, and diplomatic toolkit so our nation can fully confront the challenges China poses to our national and economic security,” concluded Menendez.

Chairman Menendez published an op-ed in the New York Times earlier this year on the critical window of opportunity for the U.S. Congress to enact a more forward-leaning policy to defend Taiwan. Citing Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, as well as the unprecedented unity among democratic nations against Putin’s own incursion into Ukraine, Chairman Menendez made the moral and strategic case for safeguarding Taiwan’s democracy through his bipartisan Taiwan Policy Act of 2022.

The Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act

The Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act (TERA) refines and builds on the Taiwan Policy Act, to promote the security of Taiwan, deter People’s Republic of China (PRC) aggression against Taiwan, and foster even closer cooperation between the United States and Taiwan in a number of strategic areas. 

The TERA creates a new initiative to bolster Taiwan’s defense capabilities, providing up to $10 billion in security assistance over the next five years, enhancing training and collaboration, and creating a new security loan authority.  It also provides additional support for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations; takes concrete steps to counter PRC’s aggressive influence campaigns and economic coercion; creates a Taiwan Fellowship Program; and promotes critical cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan on issues related to public health.

Subtitle A – Implementation of an Enhanced Defense Partnership between the United States and Taiwan
  1. This subtitle supports the acceleration of the modernization of Taiwan’s defense capabilities consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, including by authorizing $10 billion over five years in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants, if the Secretary of State certifies that Taiwan increases its defense spending, in addition to a new FMF loan guarantee authority. It directs the Executive Branch to fortify, grow, and report on Taiwan’s defense and resilience capabilities, including by regularly assessing, planning for, and providing assistance in deterring aggression by the People’s Liberation Army and creating a comprehensive training program to improve Taiwan’s defense. Finally, this subtitle includes new enhanced “regional contingency” defense article stockpile authorities for the purposes of supporting Taiwan’s defense, authorizes Presidential Drawdown Authority for Taiwan, and permits Taiwan to use FMF to directly contract for U.S. defense articles for Taiwan or to undertake indigenous development.
Subtitle B – Countering People’s Republic of China’s Coercion and Influence Campaigns
  1. Directs the State Department to develop and implement strategic guidance and capacity building measures for Taiwan’s private and public sector to respond to disinformation, cyberattacks, and propaganda by the PRC. Further, this subtitle creates a new task force to counter China’s economic coercion against countries that increase their ties or support for Taiwan, and directs the Secretary of State to submit a strategy for responding to and providing assistance to countries impacted by economic coercion. This subtitle also establishes the China Censorship Monitor and Action Group to oversee the development and execution of an integrated Federal Government strategy to address the Government of the PRC’s attempts to censor or intimidate any U.S. person, including U.S. companies, exercising the right to freedom of speech.
Subtitle C -– Inclusion of Taiwan in International Organizations
  1. Establishes U.S. policy to promote inclusion and participation of Taiwan in international organizations, and directs the Permanent Representative of the U.S. to the United Nations and other relevant representatives to leverage their voice and vote to promote Taiwan’s inclusion and meaningful participation in international organizations. Further authorizes the U.S. to initiate a plan to secure Taiwan’s meaningful participation in ICAO.
Subtitle D – Miscellaneous Provisions
  1. Updates the Taiwan Travel Act by requiring additional reporting on the positive impacts of the bill, and amends the TAIPEI Act to identify why governments and countries have altered their diplomatic status vis-a-vis Taiwan and make recommendations to mitigate further deterioration in Taiwan’s diplomatic relations with governments and countries. Further, this subtitle requires Executive Branch reports assessing the role of the increasing nuclear threat posed by the PRC in escalation dynamics, as well as the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the PRC’s objectives with respect to Taiwan.
Subtitle E – Supporting Educational and Exchange Programs with Taiwan
  1. The subtitle is the Taiwan Fellowship Act, which establishes a fellowship exchange program for U.S. federal government employees to learn, live, and work in Taiwan for a period of up to two years. Upon successful conclusion of the program, fellows must fulfill a U.S. government service requirement during which time they will  advance U.S. values and interests in the Indo-Pacific region, with special emphasis on strengthening our strategic partnership with Taiwan.
Subtitle F – United States-Taiwan Public Health Protection
  1. Directs the Secretaries of State and Health and Human Services to submit to Congress a study on the ongoing cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan related to public health, including the feasibility of establishing an Infectious Disease Monitoring Center within the American Institute of Taiwan in Taipei. The report will include a plan for establishing and operating the center, an evaluation of whether to establish the center, a timeline for establishing the center, and a description of required agreements or consultations with the Taiwanese government.



Juan Pachon