President Joe Biden speaks at a proclamation signing ceremony in the
Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to
the White House in Washington on July 25, 2023. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via
President Joe Biden has approved providing Taiwan with a $345 million military aid package with weapons derived directly from U.S. stockpiles to help Taiwan counter China’s threats, according to the White House.
In a July 28 memorandum, Mr. Biden directed the drawdown of “$345 million in defense articles and services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training, to provide assistance to Taiwan.”
Details of the military aid were not disclosed in the memorandum. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry refused to comment on the content of the package, given the “tacit agreement” between the two nations.
The self-ruling island thanked the United States for the military aid and said that Washington’s move to draw weapons from its own stockpiles provided “an important tool to support Taiwan’s self-defense.”
“Taiwan and the United States will continue to cooperate closely on security issues to maintain peace, stability, and the status quo across the Taiwan Strait,” the ministry said in a statement without elaborating further.
Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Martin Meiners told reporters that the aid package will address Taiwan’s “critical defensive stockpiles, multi-domain awareness, anti-armor, and air defense capabilities.”
The package is in addition to nearly $19 billion in arms sales that the United States has approved for Taiwan. Delivery of those weapons has been hampered by supply chain issues that started during the pandemic and have been exacerbated by the global defense industrial base pressures created by the Russia-Ukraine war.
This aid is part of a presidential authority approved by Congress last year to draw weapons from U.S. stockpiles. It helps expedite the delivery of weapons and allows Taiwan to get military aid without having to wait for military production and sales.
10th Arms Sale Approved by Biden
On June 29, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) approved two potential arms sales to Taiwan, valued at up to $440 million, marking the 10th agreement approved under the Biden administration.
The DSCA said the first deal includes 30 mm high explosive incendiary-tracer rounds, 30 mm multi-purpose rounds, 30 mm training rounds, and other related equipment, which totaled an estimated $332.2 million.
The second deal, worth $108 million, consists of a blanket order cooperative logistics supply support arrangement, which will support Taiwan’s purchase of spare and repair parts for wheeled vehicles, weapons, and other related elements.
China has strongly opposed the U.S. move and urged Washington to stop selling arms to Taiwan. A day after Washington announced its approval of the arms sales, China dispatched 24 warplanes and five vessels near Taiwan. According to Taiwan’s military, 11 warplanes were spotted crossing the Taiwan Strait median line.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) views Taiwan as a renegade province that must be united with the mainland by any means necessary, even though Taiwan has never been ruled by the CCP and has its own democratic government.
The United States formally recognizes—but doesn’t endorse—the CCP’s viewpoint. The country maintains legal ties with Taiwan guaranteeing that it will supply the island with the arms it needs for self-defense.
US Munitions Stockpile Running Low
Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth has said that the U.S. Army’s stockpiles are vanishing at an alarming rate as the nation struggles to arm Ukraine and provide for its own defense at the same time.
Ms. Wormuth said that more than 60 percent of the security assistance provided to Ukraine by the United States has come from the Army’s munitions stockpiles.
To that end, she said that the United States’s own stockpiles of munitions are running low and that the Army is in overdrive trying to increase production.
“One of the most important things we have learned from Ukraine is the need for a more robust defense industrial base,” she said during a March 30 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The U.S. Army is now seeking $18 billion from Congress to expand and modernize its munitions production capabilities over the course of the next 15 years.
Ms. Wormuth said this will help to replenish the more than $20 billion in lethal aid already delivered to Ukraine directly from U.S. stockpiles.
“My sense is we’re going to need to do more,” she said. “One thing the war in Ukraine has shown us is that the estimates we’ve made for the munitions [required] for future conflicts are low.”
Andrew Thornebrooke and the Associated Press contributed to this report.