Pentagon Official Sees ‘Urgent’ Need to Boost Taiwan’s Defenses

Officials say since 2009, the US has sold over $32 billion worth of military equipment to Taiwan

A Pentagon official said last week that there is an “urgent” need to bolster Taiwan’s defense through more arms sales.

Ely Ratner, a China hawk who serves as the assistant secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that there is a “real and dangerous” threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

“Bolstering Taiwan’s defenses is an urgent task,” Ratner said. “We are modernizing our capabilities, updating US force posture, and developing new operational concepts.”

While there has been much hype around the idea of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, both US and Taiwanese military officials have said they don’t expect a war anytime soon. But there is still a major push in Washington to give Taiwan more arms, and the policy greatly benefits US arms dealers.

Since Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979, the US has continued to arm the island as outlined under the Taiwan Relations Act. Officials at the Senate hearing said that since 2009, the US has sold Taiwan over $32 billion in military equipment.

Some China hawks in Congress want to give Taiwan money to be able to buy more arms. In November, two separate bills were introduced by Republicans in the Senate that would provide Taiwan billions in military aid each year.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.