According to Bloomberg, the United States is reportedly preparing a fast-track defense package for Taiwan worth $500 million. The government is said to be utilizing the Presidential Drawdown Authority to expedite the shipment, which has previously been used to aid Ukraine. This instrument would enable the US to circumvent the time-consuming process of contracting and producing arms by drawing on the American military’s existing stockpiles of weapons and equipment.
It is currently unknown what the exact makeup of the shipment will be, but Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning accused the US of “turning Taiwan into a powder keg,” in response to the news. Beijing has urged Washington to “stop arms sales” to Taiwan, warning of “consequences.”
Taiwan has been de facto independent since 1949, but China considers the island to be an inalienable part of its territory seized by separatists. While only a few nations have recognized Taiwan as a sovereign state, the US has maintained close ties with Taipei, both militarily and economically. Formally, Washington still adheres to the One-China policy.
The US has authorized multiple weapon deals with Taiwan in recent years, including a major sale of F-16 fighter jets. However, many of these deals have yet to come to fruition, resulting in a backlog of sales totaling $19 billion, according to Congressman Mike Gallagher.
The tensions between the US and China further escalated last month after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen paid a visit to the US, meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and several other lawmakers. China responded with massive combat readiness drills around Taiwan.
President Biden has stated that the US would deploy its military should China attempt to seize the island by force. However, it remains to be seen how China will respond to the new fast-track defense package.
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