Update: the State Department said the Stinger shipment was part of a 2019 arms sale, not a new military aid package
Taiwanese media has reported that Taiwan received delivery of Raytheon-made Stinger anti-aircraft missiles from the US as part of a $500 million package of free military aid that Washington has been preparing for Taipei.
According to Taipei Times, the Stingers arrived in a Boeing 747 on Thursday night. So far, the US and Taiwanese governments have not confirmed the delivery, but both sides said recently that the $500 million in weapons would be sent soon.
The $500 million in free weapons is being pulled from US military stockpiles using the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), the primary way the Biden administration has been arming Ukraine. The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes $1 billion in PDA for Taiwan.
The military aid for Taiwan is unprecedented as the US has sold weapons to the island since severing relations with Taipei in 1979 to open up with China but hasn’t provided arms free of charge.
The NDAA also included $2 billion for Taiwan under the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program, which gives foreign governments money to purchase US arms. But the FMF funds did not make it past the appropriations committee.
The new US support angers China as it views such steps as an affront to Washington’s one-China policy. Taiwanese media has also recently reported that the US sent about 200 troops to Taiwan to assist in training.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has called the planned military aid and troop deployments “absolutely intolerable” and said the increasing US support for Taiwan has “shaken the foundation of the China-US relations and undermined the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”