The United States must arm Taiwan “as quickly as possible” in response to China’s renewed threats to invade the country, Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) told the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday.
Hawley, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is spearheading legislation that would expedite U.S. arms shipments to Taiwan amid the Communist Party’s latest threat to unleash “violence” in the region. Hawley’s bill comes just days after the Biden administration approved a $95 million arms package to Taiwan, the second in recent months, to help defend the territory from a Chinese incursion. Hawley’s bill would fast-track the delivery of these arms.
The weapons package prompted a flurry of threats from China, which warned on Wednesday that any U.S. effort to support the island’s independence will “push the Taiwan people into the abyss of disaster.” Ma Xiaoguang, the CCP’s spokesman in the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, described the arms deal as “no different from tying a bomb to every Taiwan compatriot,” according to comment published in the country’s state-controlled press.
Congressional leaders fear that China will invade the country, as Russia did in Ukraine, catching Western nations off guard. Taiwan said last week that it is prepared to defend itself against China’s “military expansion.” China could use the new arms package as a pretext to invade Taiwan. Hawley told the Free Beacon that the United States cannot stand by and wait until Taiwan is attacked.
“In true form, CCP goons respond to any attempt to protect Taiwan from invasion with violent threats and prevarications,” Hawley said. “We must arm Taiwan to defend itself against a Chinese attack as quickly as possible. We can’t wait until it’s too late.”
Hawley’s legislation would make it easier for the United States to send critical defensive weaponry into Taiwan, including equipment to bolster its Patriot surface-to-air missile system. It would also turn Taiwan into a member of Country Group A:5, a formal trade designation that would put the country on par with other NATO allies.
Hawley’s bill would also expedite licensing approvals and remove bureaucratic red tape to ensure arms quickly reach the country, as well as shorten the time needed for Congress to approve such deals. All these moves are aimed at preventing a situation like in Ukraine when Western nations were left scrambling to help the country fight off Russia.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports Hawley’s legislation and thanked the senator late last week for trying to expedite arms sales.
“The legislation spotlights the U.S. senator’s rock-solid commitment to #StandWithTaiwan, and is another vote of congressional confidence in our country and its 23.5 million people,” the foreign ministry tweeted.