Joe Biden invokes emergency power as US supplies weapons worth $500 million to Taiwan
Using the same emergency power that has been invoked more than 35 times for Ukraine, US President Joe Biden’s administration proposes to provide $500 million in weapons aid to Taiwan.
News agency Reuters quoted an official as saying that the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), a form of power that has aided in the delivery of weapons to Ukraine, was used by Congress to approve up to $1 billion in weapons assistance for Taiwan as part of the 2023 budget.
This drawdown would be the first from that $1 billion authorisation, which permits the president to transfer goods and services from US stockpiles without congressional consent during an emergency.
Over the past three years, China has upped military pressure on the island nation because it regards democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory. It has never abandoned the policy of using force to seize control of the island.
After Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles last month, China held war games surrounding Taiwan.
According to testimony Lloyd Austin gave in February to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the US Defence Secretary intended to use the drawdown power, a Pentagon official said on Friday. Regarding if the US was continuing with the $500 million aid programme, the spokeswoman declined to say.
“Our approach remains consistent with longstanding U.S. policy… We’re hard at work fulfilling our obligations under the TRA (Taiwan Relations Act), and we’re going to continue to do so,” the spokesperson said.
The Taiwan Relations Act, which has controlled US-Taiwan relations since 1979, offers Taiwan a legal foundation to arm itself with defence tools but does not require the US to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack.
The aid package for Taiwan, which was first reported by Bloomberg news, was not immediately clear. Also undetermined was the timing.
Since last year, Taiwan has complained about delays in US weapon supply, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, as suppliers switched supplies to Ukraine as it fights the invasion by Russia. Some US senators are concerned about the situation.
The delivery of 66 advanced modern F-16Vs from the United States has been delayed due to supply chain issues, according to Taiwan’s Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, who added that the ministry was striving to minimise the harm and “make up deficiencies.”
(With agency inputs)
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