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The US Will Give Military Aid Worth IDR 5.2 Trillion for Taiwan

The aid is to help Taipei deal with a potential attack by China.

The United States (US) has announced it will provide military assistance of 345 million dollars or the equivalent of IDR 5.2 trillion for Taiwan, Friday (28/7/2023). The package is in addition to the nearly $19 billion in sales of F-16 fighter jets and other major weapons systems Washington has already approved for Taipei.

According to the two officials, Washington will deliver man-portable air defense systems or MANPADS, intelligence and surveillance capabilities, firearms and missiles. US lawmakers have been pressing the Pentagon and the White House to speed up arms shipments to Taiwan. The goal is to help Taipei deal with a potential attack by the Bamboo Curtain country.

In addition, US lawmakers have argued that arms shipments to Taiwan would deter Beijing from considering an offensive initiative. Washington has previously approved the sale of nearly $19 billion worth of F-16 fighters and other major weapons systems. But the delivery of these weapons has been hampered by supply chain disruptions that have arisen during the Covid-19 pandemic. Pressure on the global defense industry due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict also played a role in the disruption.

In contrast to the arms sales deal, the latest US aid package is part of the presidential powers approved by Congress last year. For this aid package, the US is allowed to withdraw weapons stocks from its stock. Thus Taiwan does not need to wait for military production and sales.

That makes weapons delivered faster than providing funds for new weapons. The Pentagon has also used similar authority to ship billions of dollars worth of ammunition to Ukraine.

In an interview with the Associated Press earlier this year, US Undersecretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said supplying Taiwan with weapons before the outbreak of conflict was one of the lessons Washington learned from Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. “(Ukraine) is more of a cold start approach than the planned approach we have worked on for Taiwan, and we will apply those lessons,” he said.

Taiwan is one of the issues that has strained US and China relations. China is known to claim Taiwan as part of its territory. But Taiwan has repeatedly stated that it is an independent country under the name of the Republic of China. Taiwan has always maintained that Beijing has never ruled it and has no right to speak on its behalf. This situation has strained relations between the two sides and has the potential to trigger a confrontation.

The US has no formal relations with Taiwan because it recognizes the one-China principle. But in the tensions in the Taiwan Strait, Washington sided and supported Taiwan’s defense. 

Source : Republika