The U.S. will provide Taiwan with $345 million in defense equipment, services, and training, utilizing the same fast-track authority used to speed up the supply of arms to Ukraine.
The Biden administration reaffirmed its commitment to Taiwan’s self-defense, agreeing to send “critical defensive stockpiles, multi-domain awareness, anti-armor, and air-defense capabilities,” Bloomberg reported, citing Lieutenant Colonel Martin Meiners, a Defense Department spokesperson.
“We are committed to helping them get the capability they need to defend themselves,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a visit to Brisbane, Australia, on Saturday. “So this is no change from what we’ve done in the past.”
In response, officials in Beijing accused the U.S. of exacerbating tensions between the world’s two largest economies due to its support for the self-governing island.
“China is firmly opposed to U.S.’s military ties with and arms sales to Taiwan,” Chinese Embassy Spokesperson Liu Pengyu said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. Liu called for the U.S. to “stop creating new factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait.”
Congress has authorized Biden to use as much as $1 billion in U.S. inventory for the island democracy in the National Defense Authorization Act for the current year. Because Congress didn’t appropriate funds to replace the equipment, the Pentagon will have to seek that money later, according to Bloomberg.
In a statement on Saturday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry expressed gratitude to the U.S. for its unwavering commitment to the island’s security. However, the statement did not provide additional details or address the matter of assistance.
“Taiwan and U.S. will continue close cooperation on security topics to maintain the peaceful and stable status-quo across the strait,” it read.
The recent decision by the Biden administration reaffirms the United States’ commitment to supporting Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities and maintaining stability across the Taiwan Strait. However, it has also escalated tensions between the U.S. and China, with Beijing vehemently opposing any military ties or arms sales to Taiwan.
By utilizing the same fast-track authority as in the case of supplying arms to Ukraine, the U.S. is sending a clear message of support to Taiwan and bolstering its strategic position in the region. The allocation of critical defensive stockpiles and advanced military capabilities indicates a continuing effort to enhance Taiwan’s ability to defend itself against potential threats.
Nevertheless, China’s strong opposition to the U.S.’s actions may lead to further frictions in the already sensitive relationship between the world’s two largest economies. The situation calls for careful diplomatic navigation to prevent any escalation of tensions in the region.
In summary, the U.S.’s decision to bolster Taiwan’s defense capabilities underscores its commitment to maintaining stability in the Indo-Pacific region. However, it also highlights the delicate balance required in managing the complex relations between the U.S., Taiwan, and China.
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Edited by Suparba Sil