WASHINGTON – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) issued the below statement on the Senate approval of key pillars of his legislation to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, which were 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, was approved 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
Subtitle B – Countering People’s Republic of China’s Coercion and Influence Campaigns
Subtitle C -– Inclusion of Taiwan in International Organizations
Subtitle D – Miscellaneous Provisions
Subtitle E – Supporting Educational and Exchange Programs with Taiwan
Subtitle F – United States-Taiwan Public Health Protection