The Biden administration plans to provide Taiwan with $500 million worth of weapons aid, using the same emergency authority that has been used for Ukraine more than 35 times, according to sources familiar with the matter. The move comes as tensions between Taiwan and China continue to escalate, with China viewing Taiwan as its own territory and increasing military pressure on the island over the past three years.
Congress authorized up to $1 billion worth of weapons aid for Taiwan using Presidential Drawdown Authority, which enables the transfer of weapons from the US without congressional approval during an emergency. The aid is expected to include a range of weapons and military equipment, including missiles and drones.
The decision to provide weapons aid to Taiwan has drawn strong criticism from China, which sees it as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday that China firmly opposes any form of official exchanges between the US and Taiwan, as well as any attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs.
The US has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since breaking diplomatic ties with the island in 1979, recognizing instead the government in Beijing as the sole legitimate government of China. However, the US has also pledged to help Taiwan defend itself against any Chinese aggression.
The decision to provide weapons aid to Taiwan is likely to further strain already tense US-China relations, which have been marred by disputes over trade, human rights, and territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The move also reflects a broader trend of the US increasingly focusing on the Asia-Pacific region as a strategic priority, with China seen as a rising geopolitical threat. The US has strengthened its military presence in the region, and is seeking to deepen its alliances with other countries in the region, including Japan, South Korea, and Australia.
As tensions continue to rise, it remains to be seen how China will respond to the US’ decision to provide weapons aid to Taiwan, and what impact this will have on the already complex US-China relationship.