Four senators have introduced a bill that would allocate $1.5 billion in annual defense funds over five years to deter and counter China’s influence in the Pacific region and bolster military partnership with Taiwan, Defense News reported Tuesday.
The proposed Asia Reassurance Initiative Act would authorize regular weapons sales to Taiwan and reaffirm the country’s security commitments to Japan, Australia, South Korea and other allied nations in the Indo-Pacific, according to the measure’s background paper.
Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced the proposed legislation.
The bill aims to serve as a policy framework to demonstrate U.S. commitment to a rules-based international order and build up U.S. leadership in Asia, Rubio’s office said in an April 24 news release.
“With China’s increasingly assertive rise, it is critical that the United States reaffirm our commitment to securing a free and open Indo-Pacific region through enhanced cooperation with our democratic partners,” Rubio said.
ARIA also aims to promote cyber cooperation with Indo-Pacific allies; implement U.S. overflight rights and freedom of navigation in the region; establish U.S. policy to implement nuclear non-proliferation and arms control regulations; and advance multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations with Indo-Pacific countries, according to the bill’s summary.