Four high-ranking Republicans in Congress sent a letter to President Joe Biden demanding more military aid for Taiwan. In their letter, the legislators claimed the White House is not doing enough to respond to the growing threat from Beijing.
The four Congressmen who signed on to the letter hold powerful committee appointments: Representatives Mike Rogers (R-AL), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Jim Risch (R-ID), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The letter lambasts the White House for "failing to act" against Chinese threats, "Your National Security Strategy has identified China as the top geopolitical challenge facing the United States." The statement continues, "However, your administration has consistently failed to act with the seriousness and urgency needed to arm and equip Taiwan."
In their letter, the members claim Biden did not respond aggressively enough to a Chinese balloon that traveled over American airspace. The Pentagon asserts that the craft never presented a threat to Americans. The White House ordered the military to shoot down the balloon after it had blown over the Atlantic Ocean.
Beijing says the craft is merely a weather balloon for scientific purposes that only flew over the US after it blew off course. The Pentagon says it tracked the balloon after it took off in Chinese territory and it was blown off course by unexpected storms.
While some American legislators speculated the balloon could present a threat to Americans, the US government has not provided evidence that the balloon was any kind of military or surveillance craft.
Over the past decade, the relationship between Washington and Beijing has deteriorated. Still, the four Congressmen say the White House should continue to strengthen its military relationship with Taiwan.
The legislators acknowledge that providing more military aid to Taipei will provoke Beijing but the members do not believe that hostility with China should deter a greater American military relationship with Taiwan.
"The United States must not be deterred from taking meaningful actions to counter CCP objectives that threaten our interests." The letter continues, "We must be willing to accept the tension that comes with supporting Taiwan amidst China’s threats and aggression, and we must match words with actions."
In the letter, the legislators call for Biden to add $2 billion in military aid to Taipei in the form of a grant, rather than a loan. The loan would require Taiwan to pay back the US government. The White House is expected to submit its budget proposal for the fiscal year ending in September 2024 on March 9.
Recently, the White House officially warned that the lack of contact between Beijing and Washington is becoming dangerous. The balloon incident earlier this month further eroded ties between China and the US. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to travel to China in early February for a meeting with his counterpart and President Xi Jinping. However, Blinken scrapped his plans after the Chinese balloon was spotted over Montana.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was unable to reach the Chinese Defense Minister on a bilateral hotline after an F-22 downed the craft. Defense official Ely Ratner claimed Beijing’s cold shoulder was "dangerous."
Biden has repeatedly aggravated Beijing by saying the US will defend Taiwan if China invades. The statements violate the ‘One China’ policy that has guided the Washington-Beijing relationship for decades. Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway region and American support for Taipei as interference in an internal Chinese matter.
Last summer, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taiepi. The visit by a high-level American official to Taiwan enraged China, prompting Beijing to order massive war games around the island.
Current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is planning to replicate Pelosi’s provocative trip. On Friday, a high-ranking American defense official traveled to Taiwan. The Department of Defense did not confirm the visit.