Washington Secures Three New Arms Deals With Taiwan

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen / Getty Images
October 13, 2020

The Trump administration has secured three new arms deals with Taiwan, Defense News reported Monday.

Under the three agreements, Washington will provide truck-mounted rocket systems, precision-strike missile systems, and supporting technology for Taiwanese fighter jets. The White House will reportedly notify Congress about providing Taiwan with additional weapons, such as large drones, anti-ship missiles, and underwater mines, in coming weeks. All are key to Taiwan's defense against a potential Chinese attack.

News of the deals comes only weeks after this summer's high-level diplomatic engagement between Taiwanese leadership and American officials. The meetings caused Beijing to send a dozen fighter jets over Taiwanese airspace in an attempt to deter further U.S.-Taiwan dialogue.

Since then, China has escalated its anti-Taiwan rhetoric to new levels. Editorials from Chinese media regularly hint at armed conflict, and recent propaganda even simulates Chinese strikes against Taiwan.

In response to Beijing's threats, Washington policymakers are starting to rethink the United States' Taiwan strategy. 

Last week, Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) announced his support of "strategic clarity" on Taiwan—a departure from the United States' longtime policy of ambiguity on taking action if Beijing invades the island.

Though Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's Taiwan record is limited, he may not share the Trump administration's staunch commitment to the country. 

In 2001, Biden criticized President George W. Bush’s unqualified support of Taiwan in the case of Taiwanese invasion, later writing a Washington Post editorial on the subject. Biden deflected on supporting the democratic nation but worried that support could "draw us into a war across the Taiwan Strait."

Published under: China , Taiwan