Amid soaring tensions with the U.S. and China, the State Department approved a previously revealed White House plan to supply $1.1 billion in arms to Taiwan, the Associated Press reported on Friday. This announcement has angered Beijing which warned of "counter-measures" if the plans are not revoked. Among US lawmakers there is ample bipartisan support for arming the island and the required Congressional approval is virtually guaranteed.
Concurrently, the Pentagon is working to increase the speed at which the US can sell weapons to global partners as "roadblocks" in the system are slowing things down, leading potential customers to buy less expensive Russian and Chinese advanced equipment.
According to the State Department, the arms package for Taipei includes $355 million for 60 Harpoon air-to-sea missiles, $85 million for 100 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, as well as a $655 million logistics support package to maintain and upgrade the island’s Raytheon-made early warning radar system. Thus far, this is the single largest arms sale for Taiwan approved during the Joe Biden administration.
A department spokesman said the US still recognizes only Beijing, which – along with most of the world including Washington – sees Taiwan as Chinese territory. Since 1979, this has been the official US policy. However, in recent years arms sales to the island have significantly increased and the US has been sending a parade of delegations comprised of various lawmakers and high level officials, eroding this diplomatic arrangement which has long kept the peace. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s provocative, high-profile visit to the island last month provoked China to carry out its largest military exercises ever around the island. Beijing prefers peaceful reunification to resolve the split which occurred at the end of the Chinese civil war, but has not ruled out using force which aggressive US policies make more likely.
Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said the potential sale "sends wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and severely jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait." The Taiwan issue is a "red line" for China, Beijing has repeatedly expressed concerns that Washington’s "emboldening" of the island’s independence forces, as well as the hostile US military maneuvers near the island, destabilizes cross-strait relations and risks war between China and the United States. "’China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary countermeasures in light of the development of the situation," Liu said. Last weekend, two American warships crossed the Taiwan strait which China considers its sovereign waters, such passages are an almost monthly occurrence.
At the same time, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing US officials, the Pentagon has formed a task force to expedite the process of supplying global partners with weapons to compete with China and Russia. Last month, the "tiger team," comprised of senior officials, was set up to examine what the Defense Department sees as inefficiencies and "roadblocks" in the foreign military sales program overseen by the State Department. Foggy Bottom is adding input to the Pentagon’s assessment. Among other things, concerns about transferring sensitive technology slows the process, leading foreign governments to look elsewhere for cheaper, advanced equipment. Officials worry this gives Beijing and Moscow a competitive advantage.
"US officials who work with countries on initial requests for new drones, for example, could be trained to help those countries to draft those letters better, removing roadblocks that pop up because the initial request was too broad or triggered other security concerns" a defense official told the Journal.
The review’s "urgency" is said to have been enhanced by rising tensions with China and the war in Ukraine. The report says some in the arms industry, government, and Congress are alarmed at the "the convergence of challenges for the defense industry and US military readiness." Recent reporting has indicated Washington’s massive funding of its proxy war against Russia in Ukraine has led US artillery stockpiles to become "uncomfortably low." There is also a large backlog of European allies in line to have their own stocks replenished by the US military-industrial complex after transferring hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Kiev.
Earlier this year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published a study which showed the US was still, by far, the world’s largest arms exporter. As Forbes reported, "from 2017 to 2021, the US accounted for 39 percent of major arms deliveries worldwide, over twice what Russia transferred and nearly 10 times what China sent to its weapons clients. In addition, the US had far more customers – 103 nations, or more than half of the member states of the United Nations."
Connor Freeman is the assistant editor and a writer at the Libertarian Institute, primarily covering foreign policy. He is a co-host on the Conflicts of Interest podcast. His writing has been featured in media outlets such as Antiwar.com, Counterpunch, and the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He has also appeared on Liberty Weekly, Around the Empire, and Parallax Views. You can follow him on Twitter @FreemansMind96.
13 thoughts on “State Department Approves $1.1 Billion Weapons Package for Taiwan, Pentagon to Speed Up Arms Sales”
It’s like if China armed Mississippi against the US. Mississippi might end up with drinkable water, just before burning to the ground.
Always look on the bright side of life!…
Those Mississippians are such whiners! Don’t they know there must be sacrifices made to ensure the world is made safe for war industry profits and campaign funding?
Just for grins, perhaps China should make a large donation to texassecede.com
Soaring tensions is a euphemism for US provocations now, right?
“Among US lawmakers there is ample bipartisan support for arming the island and the required Congressional approval is virtually guaranteed.”
As always. Although the two parties differ on who the bigger threat is, Russia or Chins, they still agree to spend ridiculous amounts of money on both. Can’t wait to see the obligatory no votes after the nose counting gets done.
I’m happy to see that we are leading at something… NOT. 🙁
“Department of Defense has set up the “tiger team” to accelerate global weapons sales.”
When the world has a senile angry puppet controlled by obama this is the result. The American government is currently a headless horseman careening toward oblivion.
All the US is doing is speeding the inevitable invasion of Taiwan by China , and there isn`t a damn thing they can do about it , why ? , because the Americans won`t take on a military that can fight back , neither will NATO , you don`t have to be a military genius to know that , what the Americans will try and do is fight another proxy war just like in Ukraine against Russia.
China would be well advised to do what Putin did not do, instead of what he did.
There might be Chinese spy ships off every American navy base, warships patrolling the approaches to major American commercial harbors, multiship exercises all along the American coast featuring hypersonic land attack cruise missiles (with practice launches) and offers of multi-billion aid packages for antiaircraft and land attack missiles and drones to Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and make an offer to Mexico too.
The USSR did maintain such spy ships off American naval ports, so it is not unprecedented.
Then when the screaming reaches a fever pitch, offer a deal. Sort of like Cuban missiles for Turkish missiles, back in the day.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy has a long way to go before it will be capable of putting “spy ships off every American navy base, warships patrolling the approaches to major American commercial harbors, multiship exercises all along the American coast featuring hypersonic land attack cruise missiles,” etc. It’s certainly working toward that goal, but at the moment it’s nowhere near being there.
Among other things, it hasn’t spent several centuries establishing the bases and/or port of call agreements that make it possible for naval fleets to operate halfway around the world from their home ports for extended periods without returning home, and it has a lot of catching up to do in that respect.
At the moment, the PLAN is still working on becoming competitive with the US Navy’s ability to project power in the South China Sea area while simultaneously increasing its reach with things like the recent security pact with the Solomon Islands.
If the Beijing regime dramatically increases its military spending and increases engagement with countries in Africa and the Americas, it could conceivably become competitive with the US in naval power outside its immediate locale by the middle of the century.
Spy ships are old school. Satellites are what’s happening now. Every country that has them knows what’s going on around the world. And, surface navies are also old school. They are just ‘sitting ducks’ in the age of hypersonic and nuclear missiles. And, so are the bases around China and Russia. One missile will be enough to destroy each one. Another reason to avoid military ‘service’, which is really servicing the corps. that profit from war and the gov. that gets all the goodies from the war industry.
Wonder how much Americans are paying for this as opposed to how much Taiwan is paying? Seems the taxpayers fund just about everything when it comes to war. That black funding will never be revealed. Remember when the missile hit the Pentagon’s accounting section?
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