United States Prepares $500 Million Arms Package to Taiwan

United States Prepares $500 Million Arms Package to Taiwan

Taiwan military personnel maneuver in a drill at a military base in Chiayi, Taiwan, Jan. 6, 2023. (EPA Photo)

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The Biden administration is planning to send a $500 million military and security aid package to Taiwan using the Presidential Drawdown Authority according to Bloomberg News who cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter. Notably this package will use the same emergency authorization that has been used 35 times already to send weapons, equipment, and support to Ukraine by the United States.

$1 billion had already been included in the 2023 budget set by Congress for Taiwan, this package will mark the first deduction from that authorization. Likely this comes in direct response to recent extensive Chinese wargames, some simulating amphibious invasion across from Taiwan directly, as well as ADIZ violations over Taiwanese territory. The Biden administration has in the past warned China plans to invade Taiwan by 2027.

The exact contents or timing of the delivery of the package are unclear from the Bloomberg report. However will reportedly contain existing U.S stockpiles of weapons and equipment.

“In February, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he intended to make use of drawdown authority, a Pentagon spokesperson said on Friday. The spokesperson declined to comment on whether the U.S. was moving ahead with the $500 million aid package. “Our approach remains consistent with longstanding U.S. policy… We’re hard at work fulfilling our obligations under the TRA (Taiwan Relations Act), and we’re going to continue to do so,” the spokesperson said.

Taiwan has since last year complained of delays to U.S. weapon deliveries, such as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, as manufacturers turned supplies to Ukraine as it battles invading Russian forces. The issue has concerned some U.S. lawmakers. Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said on Thursday that the delivery of 66 advanced new F-16Vs from the United States had been delayed due to supply chain disruptions and the ministry was working to minimize the damage and “make up deficiencies.”” – Reuters

“Using a drawdown will let the US sidestep the often-lengthy process of contracting and producing weapons, which has resulted in what US lawmakers say is a $19 billion backlog in weapons that have been approved but not yet delivered to Taiwan. The request is likely to anger China and cuts against President Joe Biden’s effort to restore stability to contacts with Beijing. The administration has requested a meeting between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu on the sidelines of the Shangri-La forum in Singapore in June.

Most high-level communication stalled after an alleged Chinese spy balloon traversed the continental US in February. Austin and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines have said they don’t see an effort by China to seize Taiwan by force as imminent.” – Bloomberg

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