The US is considering a plan to jointly manufacture weapons with Taiwan in an effort to speed up arms deliveries for the island, a member of the US-Taiwan Business Council said on Wednesday.
Since 2017, the US has approved over $20 billion in arms sales for Taiwan, but deliveries have been delayed. According to Defense News, the island is facing a $14 billion backlog in sales from the US, including an $8 billion F-16 deal.
Rupert Hammond-Chambers, the president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, said that the idea of joint production is “right at the beginning of the process.” The plan was first reported by Nikkei Asia, which said the US and Taiwan have just begun talks on the idea.
Taiwan has been working to increase the domestic production of missiles and naval vessels, but it’s not clear at this point what weapons the US and Taiwan might produce together. Hammond-Chambers said it would likely be focused on munitions and missile technology.
The plan would require obtaining licenses from the State Department and Pentagon, which could be hesitant to issue them due to concerns of sensitive weapons technology used for US weapons production getting into the wrong hands. But the US does seem determined to get more arms into Taiwan’s hands despite the fact that it will raise tensions with Beijing.
The Senate is looking to give Taiwan $10 billion in military aid spread out over five years as part of an amendment included in its version of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is expected to be voted on after mid-term elections in November.