US approves first-ever military aid to Taiwan through program typically used for sovereign nations

Published: 3 weeks ago

Updated: 3 weeks ago

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The Biden administration has approved funding for the first-ever transfer of US military equipment to Taiwan under a program typically saved for sovereign nations, according to a notification sent to Congress on Tuesday.

The Biden administration has approved funding for the first-time transfer of U.S. military equipment to Taiwan under a program typically recorded for sovereign nations, according to a notice sent to Congress on Tuesday.

The package, which is part of the State Department's foreign military financing (FMF) program, totals $80 million and will be paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

The FMF will be used to strengthen Taiwan's self-defense capabilities through a joint and unified defense capability and enhanced maritime area awareness and maritime security capability, the department wrote in a statement to Congress reviewed by CNN.

A State Department spokesman confirmed the initial transfer. Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act and our longstanding China policy that has not changed, the United States is providing Taiwan with the defense articles and services necessary to ensure it maintains an adequate self-defense capability, the spokesperson told CNN.

The United States has a lasting interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait that is critical to regional and global security and prosperity. The latest development in the continued U.S. support for Taiwan is likely to anger China, which claims the self-governing island as its own island.

The U.S. has sold weapons to Taiwan in the past through a separate program called Foreign Military Sales (FMS).

The FMF program will provide U.S. taxpayer-paid grant assistance to Taiwan to make these purchases.

According to the letter to Congress, the sale could cover a wide range of capabilities, including air and coastal defense systems, ballistic missile defense, cyber defense, drones, military training, individual soldier protective equipment and ammunition.

It will take months or years for military support to arrive in Taiwan because the equipment will be endured by future purchases of equipment by the Pentagon.

Under the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act, passed last year, the U.S. government is authorized to spend up to $2 billion a year on military grant assistance to the island from 2023 to 2027.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul welcomed the endorsement. I am glad that the administration has further implemented the bipartisan Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act by finally providing FMF to Taiwan.

These weapons will not only help Taiwan and protect other democracies in the region, but will also strengthen the U.S. deterrence posture and protect our national security from an increasingly aggressive CCP. This story has been updated with additional information.


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