US OKs military aid to Taiwan under program usually reserved for sovereign nations

Date:

BY MATTHEW LEE

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has approved the first-ever U.S. military transfer to Taiwan under a program generally reserved for assistance to sovereign, independent states.

The State Department notified Congress of the sale on Wednesday. It said the material would “be used to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities through joint and combined defense capability and enhanced maritime domain awareness and maritime security capability.”

The package is modest — only $80 million of what Congress had set aside as a potential $2 billion — but the implications of using the so-called Foreign Military Financing program to provide it will likely infuriate China.

Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province, has repeatedly not ruled out the use of force to reunite it with the mainland and vociferously protests all U.S. arms sales to the self-governing island.

However, previous arms sales to Taiwan have been approved under other authorities that do not necessarily imply statehood. U.S. officials were quick to say that the provision of FMF funding to Taiwan did not represent a change in policy. It’s a position the Chinese are sure to disagree with.

In explaining the change, two U.S. officials said: “The United States has provided Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Taiwan for years. FMF simply enables eligible partner nations to purchase U.S. defense articles, services, and training through either FMS or, for a limited number of countries, through the foreign military financing of direct commercial contracts (FMF/DCC) program.” The officials were not authorized to comment publicly and did so on condition of anonymity.

But the language used implied that Taiwan is or could be compared to a “nation” or a “country” — something China has fervently opposed, blocking Taiwan’s full membership in any number of U.N. and other international organizations unless it is identified as part of China.

The only other time the U.S. has provided a non-nation-state with military assistance under FMF was to the African Union, an organization of sovereign states based in Ethiopia, according to American officials.

The notification, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, did not specify what military equipment or systems would be paid for under FMF, which commits U.S. taxpayer dollars to pay for the supply of materiel to foreign countries.

But, it said items that could be covered would include: air and coastal defense systems, armored vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, drones, ballistic missile and cyber defenses, and advanced communications equipment. It added that protective gear, an array of small, medium and heavy weapons systems, ammunition, armored and infantry fighting vehicles could also be included.

In addition to equipment, FMF may also be used to support training for Taiwanese military forces.

Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed the FMF being provided to Taiwan.

“These weapons will not only help Taiwan and protect other democracies in the region, but also strengthen the U.S. deterrence posture and ensure our national security from an increasingly aggressive CCP,” he said in a statement, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.

Find your latest news here at the Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Subscribe to The Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle

Popular

More like this
Related

Southern California Releasing Thousands of Mosquitoes

Southern California officials on Thursday launched an initiative aimed at curbing an invasive mosquito species that has spread rapidly in the greater Los Angeles area during the past 10 years.

Southern California family arrested for series of alleged retail thefts

A Riverside County family was arrested in connection with a series of thefts targeting stores across Southern California.

How Did Southern California Become The Fast Food Epicenter Of The World?

What is your favorite fast-food indulgence? Is it a classic Big Mac? A Panda Express Original Orange Chicken? Or maybe the Crunchwrap Supreme? Whatever it is, there is a good chance that it had its origins in the greater Los Angeles area.

10 Lake Valley: A New Way To Play In Southwest Riverside County

With May Gray at the coast, now is the perfect time of year to explore and visit Southwest Riverside County.