Taiwan, US in talks on US$500 million weapons aid package: Defence chief

08 May 2023 06:04pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said Monday that his ministry has been in talks with the United States on the types of weapon systems that would be needed if the US decides to supply Taiwan with US$500 million worth of emergency military aid under a grant programme, amid China's growing military threats, reported Central News Agency (CNA).

Speaking during a legislative hearing, Chiu confirmed a Reuters report last week that said US President Joe Biden's administration was planning to send US$500 million worth of military aid to Taiwan, under the same emergency programme that was being used to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia's invasion.

Chiu told lawmakers in the hearing that since January, Taiwan has been in talks with the US to decide on a priority list of weapon systems under the possible US$500 million emergency grant.

The grant will provide free weapons to Taiwan in consideration of the current backlog in the US' supply of weapons that Taiwan has already purchased, but it will not in any way alter those orders, he said.

Since last year, Taiwan has been complaining of delays in the delivery of weapons purchased from the US.

Last week, Chiu said his ministry had been informed that delivery of the first two F-16V fighters in Taiwan's order for 66 of American planes will be delayed for almost a year due to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Republican Congresswoman Young Kim of California, Washington has run up a backlog of US$21 billion worth of defense articles it has agreed to sell Taiwan.

The US Department of State had said earlier that the backlog was due to the current limited production capacity of the country's defence industry, rather than to any prioritising of support for Ukraine. - BERNAMA-CNA

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