In The News

US Prepping Long-Promised Weapons Aid Package For Taiwan

President Joe Biden will approve a weapons package for Taiwan, which is under threat from China, worth more than $300 million as soon as Friday, Reuters reported, citing two U.S. officials.

Congress authorized the president to arm Taiwan with up to $1.1 billion worth of military equipment pulled directly from U.S. stocks in 2023, according to Reuters, but this appears to be the first time the administration has utilized drawdown powers for Taiwan this year. Biden planned to send more than $500 million worth of military equipment through the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) in May, Reuters reported, citing U.S. officials, but no official announcement has come from the White House.

“I’m pleased that the United States will soon provide significant additional security assistance to Taiwan through the Presidential Drawdown Authority that Congress authorized last year,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on May 16, hinting at the weapons package, according to Reuters. (RELATED: ‘Tipping Point’: US To Expand Troop Presence In Taiwan In Bid To Fend Off Chinese Invasion, Officials Say)

The administration will likely conceal the exact types and numbers of equipment distributed to Taiwan, unlike drawdowns for Ukraine, in which the administration usually provides a semi-detailed list of weapons and munitions classes and support equipment included in each package, according to Reuters. Biden has acted on PDA more than 40 times since the beginning of the war in Ukraine to expedite weapons transfers to Ukraine within amounts authorized by Congress, according to a Pentagon press release dated July 25.

Four sources told Reuters in recent weeks that the military package will likely include four unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drones for reconnaissance. It was unclear if the drones will be present in the final arrangement, as U.S. officials were working out how to pay for and execute removal of sensitive tech from the drones only the U.S. Air Force is allowed to access, according to the outlet.

Taiwan has also agreed to purchase four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones, a more advanced General Atomics system slated for delivery by 2025, according to Reuters.

A US-made S70C helicopter is guided by a navy soldier during take off from a frigate at the sea near the Suao navy harbour in Yilan, eastern Taiwan, on April 13, 2018. (SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

Sales are pending for up to $19 billion in weapons that Taiwan has agreed to purchase from the U.S., Defense News reported. The backlog could increase as Congress authorizes more foreign military sales and financing grants.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said in June that the U.S. needed to massively accelerate weapons sales to Taiwan as China’s increasingly aggressive military exercises around the island seem to threaten a coming invasion, according to Reuters.

Many U.S. defense and intelligence leaders expect Beijing to move on the island within the decade.

The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Micaela Burrow

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Micaela Burrow

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