The Biden administration will ask Congress next month to green-light arms funding for Taiwan as part of the supplemental budget proposal for Ukraine in a hurried effort to bolster Taiwan’s defense against a growing threat from China, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.
The supplemental request from the Office of Management and Budget will include funding for Taiwan’s weapons provisions, the Financial Times reported. The Biden administration promised up to $345 million in weapons stockpiles to Taiwan last week as China has ramped up its military presence around the island.
The Biden administration is expected to submit the proposal this month, according to Financial Times. If Congress passes the proposal, it would be the first time Taiwan would receive arms from a taxpayer-funded system called “foreign military financing.”
The request to Congress is separate from the $345 million weapons aid package currently being prepped for Taiwan, which was pulled from the U.S.’s military stockpile through Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) by President Biden. The PDA has previously been used to transfer weapons to Ukraine more than 40 times since the beginning of its war with Russia, but this appears to be the first time it is being utilized for Taiwan.
Increased activity east of Taiwan. pic.twitter.com/CTlDHaMrKc
— Indo-Pacific News – Geo-Politics & Defense News (@IndoPac_Info) August 2, 2023
“This would be a monumental step that signals how far the US government is now willing to go to accelerate deterrence across the Taiwan Strait,” Eric Sayers, managing director at Beacon Global Strategies, told the Financial Times. “For decades we have chosen to only sell Taiwan military equipment but now . . . we are seeing both the tools of drawdown authority and foreign military financing be deployed, just as they have been so successful in Ukraine.”
Increasing threats from China have prompted the rush to provide aid to Taiwan. China has insisted sovereignty over Taiwan and demonstrated hostility to countries that try to intervene on the island’s behalf.
In response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to the U.S. in April, China conducted three days of military drills surrounding Taiwan and launched simulated precision strikes on the island. China had a similar reaction to former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s 2022 trip to Taiwan, which prompted the country to launch joint naval and air drills with live fire exercises around the island.
State Secretary Antony Blinken stated in June that the Biden administration does not support Taiwan’s independence from China immediately after being asked to do so by a CCP official during his Beijing visit.
The OMB did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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