Congress is moving forward with plans to send a multi-billion dollar weapons package to Taiwan in an effort to ward off a potential invasion from China.
Bipartisan congressional leaders are seeking to avoid another Ukraine situation and hope to preemptively arm Taiwanese forces, the Washington Post reported. The plans come as President Biden held his first in-person meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Bali on Monday.
The security of Taiwan was a major top of discussion between the pair, with Biden emphasizing that the U.S. and the world expect the Taiwan strait to remain peaceful.
The congressional effort would tap the Department of Defense to deliver Javeline and Stinger launchers, anti-ship cruise missiles, anti-air defense systems, self-detonating drones, naval mines, command-and-control systems, and secure radios, WaPo reported.
Biden objected to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive” actions toward Taiwan in his conversation with Xi, according to a summary provided by the White House.
Biden also raised objections to China’s ongoing genocide against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang as well as in Tibet.
China has repeatedly threatened to take Taiwan by force and has conducted extensive military drills surrounding the island in recent months. Taiwan split from mainland China in 1949 after Democratic forces lost a civil war to the Chinese Communist Party and fled to the island.
Biden’s administration has adopted a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on whether the U.S. would intervene militarily if China invaded the island. Biden himself has repeatedly stated that the U.S. would do so, but other members of his administration have also repeatedly walked back his statements.
Japan has joined the U.S. in urging the defense of Taiwan as a Democratic country, however, and the U.S. is bound by an alliance to join into any conflict should Japan be attacked.