Biden sends $345 million in weapons to Taiwan

July 29, 2023
Robert Ayers

President Joe Biden has decided to send a weapons package worth $345 million to Taiwan. 

The Associate Press reports:

The United States has announced $345 million in military aid for Taiwan, in what is the Biden administration’s first major package drawing on America’s own stockpiles to help Taiwan counter China.

The purpose of the weapons package is reported by the Associated Press to be twofold.

"The goals are to help it counter China and to deter China from considering attacking, by providing Taipei enough weaponry that it would make the price of invasion too high," the outlet reports.

The available details

CBS News reports that Biden is accomplishing this by the use of the presidential drawdown authority after Congress, last year, authorized roughly $1 billion in presidential drawdown packages for Taiwan.

CBS explains:

Drawing down from U.S. inventories is a quick way to transfer equipment, as evidenced by the more than 40 drawdowns the administration has sent Ukraine since August 2021. Drawdowns bypass the foreign-military sales process, which can take years to deliver weapons and equipment.

The question now is what exactly Biden is going to send Taiwan.

The precise answer remains unknown. But, the Associated Press provides an overview, writing:

The White House said Friday the package would include defense, education, and training for the Taiwanese. Washington will send man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS, intelligence and surveillance capabilities, firearms, and missiles, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

It is also not clear when exactly the United States is going to send this weapons package to Taiwan.

"We take our responsibilities . . . very seriously"

As would be expected, Taiwan is pleased with the Biden administration's decision here while China is not.

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington put out a statement saying that China is "firmly opposed" to what is going on between the United States and Taiwan.

A spokesperson for Taiwan, in contrast, referred to Biden's decision to send them weapons as "an important tool to support Taiwan’s self-defense."

The background here is that China has been trying to claim that Taiwan belongs to it, while Taiwan has been trying to maintain itself as an independent autonomous country. The United States, under the Biden administration, has maintained the "One China" policy in which it does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country. But, U.S. law does require the U.S. government to require the U.S. to provide a credible defense for Taiwan.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Friday, “We take our responsibilities to Taiwan and to improving their self-defense capabilities very, very seriously."

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