U.S. Announces $345M Military Aid Package for Taiwan Amid Rising Tensions

The United States has announced a $345 million military aid package for Taiwan, escalating its support for the self-ruled island claimed by China. The package, announced on Friday, July 29, includes defense articles, military education, and training, according to a statement from President Joe Biden’s administration.

The specifics of the weapons or equipment to be provided were not detailed in the White House announcement. However, media outlets, citing unnamed officials, reported that the supplies would include portable air defense systems, small arms munitions, and reconnaissance equipment.

This move has drawn a swift response from Beijing, which has vowed to reunify Taiwan with the Chinese mainland by force if necessary. Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, urged the U.S. to cease arms sales to Taiwan and avoid creating factors that could escalate tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

The U.S., while not officially recognizing Taiwan, has been bolstering its defenses in the face of Beijing’s increasingly aggressive stance. This includes regular incursions of warplanes and naval vessels. Earlier this month, China conducted significant military exercises around Taiwan, sending dozens of warships and planes close to the Taiwanese coastline.

The U.S.’s latest aid package follows the U.S. Congress’s authorization for Biden to draw aid for Taiwan from American military stocks. This fast-track method of providing equipment mirrors Washington’s assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.

The U.S.’s backing of Taiwan and the independence-leaning administration of Tsai Ing-wen has added to the mounting tensions between Washington and Beijing. Beijing has accused the U.S. of turning the island into a “powder keg.”