The White House is seeking congressional approval to use part of the budget allocated for Ukraine to provide weapons to Taiwan, according to sources cited by the Financial Times. The Office of Management and Budget plans to include a funding request for Taipei in the supplemental budget, which primarily aims to support Kiev in its conflict with Russia. This move is part of an effort to expedite the provision of weapons to Taiwan. The request is expected to be submitted later this month.
If approved by US lawmakers, this would mark the first time that Taiwan receives arms through the Foreign Military Financing scheme. This scheme provides grants and loans to foreign militaries to purchase US-made equipment, with funding coming from American taxpayers.
Eric Sayers, Managing Director at consulting firm Beacon Global Strategies, described the US efforts to assist Taiwan as a significant step. It signals Washington’s willingness to go to great lengths to enhance deterrence in the Taiwan Strait.
The report follows President Joe Biden’s confirmation last week that the US would provide Taiwan with $345 million worth of weapons under “presidential drawdown authority.” This tool for foreign policy situations, including the Ukraine conflict, allows Washington to quickly provide support.
In recent years, Washington has approved billions of dollars in security assistance to Taiwan. This includes a deal for the delivery of 66 advanced new F-16 jets, expected to arrive by 2026.
Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson, Chen Binhua, criticized the latest assistance package from Washington, accusing the US of turning the self-governed island into “a powder keg and ammunition depot.” Beijing also claims this aggravates the threat of war in the Taiwan Strait.
China considers Taiwan as part of its sovereign territory and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve reunification. While the US acknowledges the “One-China” policy and formally recognizes a single Chinese government, it maintains strong informal ties with Taiwan. The US has pledged to defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion from mainland China.
As the situation unfolds, it will be crucial to monitor the response from US lawmakers and the impact this support may have on the dynamic between China, Taiwan, and the United States.
This development highlights the growing tension in the Taiwan Strait and the strategic importance of the region. The US is increasing its commitment to Taiwan’s defense, while China is becoming more assertive in asserting its claims over the territory. The potential arms procurement for Taiwan through the Ukraine budget represents a significant move that could have profound implications for the geopolitical balance in the region. It remains to be seen how this request will be received by Congress and what further actions may be taken by the US and China in response.