Biden asks Congress to approve $1 billion arms deal with Taiwan
The Biden administration is requesting approval from Congress for more than $1 billion in arms sales to Taiwan amid increased tensions with China over the island’s status.
The State Department announced on Friday that it approved three separate proposed military sales for Taiwan, and Congress has been notified of them. If approved by Congress, the three sales will send contractor logistics support for Taiwan’s Surveillance Radar Program, up to 60 AGM-84L-1 Harpoon Block II missiles and related equipment and up to 100 AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder Tactical Missiles and equipment.
A State Department spokesperson said the United States being able to quickly provide defense weaponry and sustainment to Taiwan is essential to the island’s security.
“These proposed sales are routine cases to support Taiwan’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” the spokesperson said.
They said the actions are consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, a 1979 law under which the U.S. pledges to provide support to help Taiwan defend itself but does not commit to direct involvement in an armed conflict.
The spokesperson said the executive branch of the federal government has notified Congress of more than $35 billion in arms sales to Taiwan since 2010.
The proposal comes one month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. China carried out military exercises around the island in the immediate aftermath of her visit and has promised to continue to monitor and patrol the Taiwan Strait and be prepared for a conflict.
China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory awaiting reunification. The U.S. government follows the “One China” policy, recognizing Beijing as the sole government of China while considering Taiwan’s status to be unsettled.
The State Department spokesperson said the department urges China to discontinue its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan and engage in “meaningful dialogue” with the island.
“The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan,” they said.
The U.S. and Taiwan agreed last month to start discussions on establishing a trade deal early this fall.