White House request designed to speed up weapons transfers to Taipei amid rising threat from China
The White House will ask Congress to fund arms for Taiwan as part of a supplemental budget request for Ukraine, in an effort to speed up the supply of weapons to the country amid the rising threat from China.
The Office of Management and Budget will include funding for Taiwan in the supplemental request as part of an effort to accelerate the provision of weapons, according to two people familiar with the plan.
If passed by Congress, Taiwan would get arms through a US taxpayer-funded system known as “foreign military financing” for the first time. The White House is expected to submit the request this month.
The request comes on the heels of a White House announcement that the US would supply Taiwan with $345mn in weapons from stockpiles for the first time, under a system known as “presidential drawdown authority” that has been used to send weapons to Ukraine.
The decision to include Taiwan funding in the supplemental budget and use PDA to supply weapons underscores a rising urgency to help Taipei. Critics of the current Taiwan strategy have urged Washington to supply weapons more quickly as China increases military activity around the country.
“This would be a monumental step that signals how far the US government is now willing to go to accelerate deterrence across the Taiwan Strait,” said Eric Sayers, managing director at Beacon Global Strategies, a Washington consultancy.
“For decades we have chosen to only sell Taiwan military equipment but now . . . we are seeing both the tools of drawdown authority and foreign military financing be deployed, just as they have been so successful in Ukraine,” Sayers added.