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US Senate passes bill for troops to join Taiwan drills


The US Senate has passed a bill that calls for US troops to join in military drills in Taiwan. Lawmakers passed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with a vote of 85 to 10. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill in late May.


One section of the bill says the US defense secretary should promote exchanges enhancing the security of Taiwan. That includes, "US participation in appropriate Taiwan exercises, such as the annual Han Kuang exercises" and vice versa.


The Han Kuang exercises are the largest annual military drills in Taiwan, which involve computer war games and live-fire drills.


The Senate bill also calls for expanded cooperation with Taiwan in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. It says the secretary of defense should consider supporting a visit by an American hospital ship to Taiwan.


Meanwhile, Taiwan’s foreign ministry has thanked the Senate for its show of support. Spokesperson Andrew Lee says Taiwan will continue to monitor the developments, because the Senate and House still need to negotiate a joint version of the bill that will be sent to President Trump to sign.