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Biden Authorizes $345 Million Worth of Weapons for Taiwan, Riling Chinese Authorities

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Biden Authorizes $345 Million Worth of Weapons for Taiwan, Riling Chinese Authorities

Title: President Biden Approves $345 Million Worth of Weapons for Taiwan Amidst Chinese Displeasure

Date: July 30, 2023

In a move that is likely to strain US-China relations further, President Joe Biden has authorized the US Department of Defense to supply Taiwan with up to $345 million worth of advanced weaponry. This military aid package, approved by the US Congress, has the potential to provoke a strong reaction from Chinese authorities.

The White House has chosen not to disclose the specifics of the military aid package; however, reports from Reuters suggest that it may include 44 units of an MQ-9A reconnaissance drone. The inclusion of this drone, which is equipped with advanced equipment typically limited to the US Air Force, hinges on agreements regarding modifications and payment. While details remain uncertain, Taiwan has already committed to purchasing four MQ-9B Ocean Guardian drones manufactured by General Atomics, with delivery expected in 2025.

Expressing gratitude for the United States‘ “firm security commitment,” Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense refrained from commenting on specific details, citing a “tacit understanding” between the two nations. The US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, had previously hinted at additional arms assistance to Taiwan in his statements to the US Senate back on May 16. He expressed enthusiasm over the forthcoming security assistance, made possible by the presidential withdrawal authorization approved by Congress last year.

The urgency for increasing aid to Taiwan has been echoed by Gen. Mike Milley, chairman of the US Army’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. During a visit to Tokyo, he emphasized the need for the US and its allies to expedite the process of strengthening Taiwan’s defense capabilities. Milley opined that the rate of assistance provided to Taiwan may need to accelerate in the coming years.

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It is worth noting that the US Presidential Withdrawal Authorization (PDA) has historically been employed for emergency situations. However, the case of Taiwan is unique, as this non-emergency authorization was specifically approved by Congress in the previous year. The authorization allows for the transfer of items and services from US stockpiles to expedite security assistance to Taiwan.

Given the contentious nature of US-China relations and China’s persistent demand for the US to halt arms sales to Taiwan, President Biden’s decision is sure to provoke a strong reaction from Chinese authorities. As tensions escalate, Chinese-US relations are likely to face new challenges that could have broader implications not only for the US and China but also for regional stability.

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Editor in charge: Lin Li

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