US announces $345 million military aid package for Taiwan

29 Jul 2023 12:25pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

WASHINGTON - The United States on Friday unveiled a $345 million military aid package for Taiwan designed to quickly bolster the island's ability to deter a Chinese invasion.

The package - which an official said features intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment and small arms munitions - will be drawn from the US' own reserves, allowing it to be delivered on a faster-than-usual timeline.

These are "capabilities that Taiwan will be able to use to bolster deterrence now and in the future," a Pentagon spokesperson said.

Elements of the package "address critical defensive stockpiles, multi-domain awareness, anti-armour and air defense capabilities," he added.

"We are working expeditiously to deliver the military assistance announced today." Taiwan's defense ministry thanked Washington "for its staunch commitment to Taiwan's security." "The Presidential Drawdown Authority is another important support for Taiwan's self-defense in addition to weapons sales," ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang said.

"Taiwan and the US will continue to cooperate closely in safety issues in order to maintain peace, stability and the status quo in the Taiwan Strait." Congress has authorized President Joe Biden to draw aid for Taiwan from American military stocks - the same way that Washington has provided large quantities of assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

In the past year, the Chinese military has held two major drills around Taiwan, simulating targeted strikes and a blockade of the island.

China, which is an increasingly assertive diplomatic and military power, claims the democratic, self-ruled island of Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to take it, by force if necessary.

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A statement from the White House announced the package of "defense articles and services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training, to provide assistance to Taiwan." - AFP

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