A month after China’s unprecedented live fire exercises in direct response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, the Biden administration is set to ramp up its arms sales to Taiwan with numbers that suggest Ukraine levels of aid.
“The Biden administration plans to formally ask Congress to approve an estimated $1.1 billion arms sale to Taiwan that includes 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the package,” Politico is reporting.
The soon to be proposed package is still said to be in its early stage, but both the White House and bipartisan leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee are expected to sign off on it.
The new urgency to send more advanced arms to Taiwan, which the US will no doubt emphasize are defensive in nature, is driven by fears that Beijing has only shortened its timeline for Taiwan reunification, also following the month of August which saw no less than four separate Congressional delegations visit.
According to Politico, the over $1 billion arms package is to include “60 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles for $355 million, 100 AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder tactical air-to-air missiles for $85.6 million, and $655.4 million for a surveillance radar contract extension, the people said. The Sidewinder missiles will arm Taipei’s U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets.”
The Biden administration has already seen through three major packages of arms sales to Taiwan, continuing on a trend of increased arms deliveries that Trump set in motion.
China is continuing to send warplanes to buzz the self-ruled island’s airspace, and is maintaining a persistent Taiwan Strait presence, also following Sunday the US Navy sending a pair of warships through the Strait for the first time since Pelosi’s trip.
“Troops of the (Eastern) Theater Command are on high alert and ready to foil any provocation at any time,” a spokesperson for the People Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in response guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville traversing the contested waters.
When it comes to the Taiwan question, the US President is very much like the general sales manager of a big arms dealer. pic.twitter.com/C5toIrxhUw
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) August 30, 2022
But the 7th Fleet asserted: “These ships (are transiting) through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state. The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows,” according to an official statement.