The United States has announced a new weapons package for Taiwan worth up to $345 million, a decision that is likely to provoke Beijing at a time when the US is attempting to reset its relationship with China. This marks the first time the US has utilized the Presidential Drawdown Authority to transfer equipment to Taiwan, allowing for the direct withdrawal of weapons and other supplies from the Defense Department's inventories. The contents of the package have not been disclosed, but it is said to include self-defense capabilities that will enhance Taiwan's deterrence. The Pentagon spokesperson stated that the administration will continue to assess Taiwan's defense needs and determine the best authority to meet those requirements moving forward.
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense expressed gratitude to the US for its firm security commitment and emphasized the importance of working closely on security issues to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. In previous instances, Taiwan has had to go through a longer process of purchasing weapons directly from the US, whereas this new approach allows for a faster transfer of equipment.
The announcement of this weapons package comes after Taiwan's defense minister revealed that the country was in talks with the US for a $500 million fast-tracked weapons package to compensate for delays in the delivery of other weapons, some of which were diverted to Ukraine. However, the package was delayed due to an accounting error that required a recount of the equipment's value.
While the US is providing support to Taiwan, it remains committed to the One China policy and the Taiwan Relations Act. At the same time, the Biden administration has been pursuing diplomatic progress with Beijing, seeking to reopen communication and restart dialogue. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently visited Beijing, the first top US diplomat to do so in five years, indicating a potential improvement in relations between the two countries. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also visited Beijing in early July, further signaling a desire for dialogue.