The White House intends to seek congressional approval for the move in a bid to expedite the provision of weapons, the news outlet reports
The White House plans to ask Congress to authorize weapons procurement for Taiwan using part of the budget meant for Ukraine, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing sources.
According to two people familiar with the matter interviewed by the FT, the Office of Management and Budget will include a funding request for Taipei in the supplemental budget – which itself will focus mainly on helping Kiev in its fight with Russia – as part of a campaign to expedite the provision of weapons.
The White House is expected to submit the request later this month. The report says that if approved by US lawmakers, it will be the first time Taiwan has received arms via the so-called Foreign Military Financing scheme. This is a mechanism to provide grants and loans to foreign militaries to help them purchase US-made equipment and is essentially funded by American taxpayers.
Commenting on the new US efforts to assist Taipei, Eric Sayers, managing director at the consulting firm Beacon Global Strategies, described them, as quoted by the paper, as “a monumental step” signaling how far Washington is willing to go to boost deterrence across the Taiwan Strait.
The FT report comes after on Friday US President Joe Biden confirmed that Washington would provide Taiwan with $345 million worth of weapons under “presidential drawdown authority,” a foreign policy tool that Washington relies on “in crisis situations,” including the Ukraine conflict.
In recent years, Washington has approved billions of dollars in security assistance to Taiwan, including a deal for the delivery of 66 advanced new F-16 jets, which are expected to arrive by 2026.
Commenting on Washington’s latest assistance package to Taipei, Chen Binhua, spokesperson for Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office, claimed that the US is turning the self-governed island into “a powder keg and ammunition depot, aggravating the threat of war in the Taiwan Strait.”
China considers Taiwan a part of its sovereign territory and has signaled that while it would like peaceful reunification with the island, it has not ruled out the use of force to accomplish this goal.
Meanwhile, while Washington formally acknowledges the ‘One-China’ policy and recognizes a single Chinese government, it maintains strong informal ties with Taiwan and has pledged to defend it in the event of an invasion from the mainland.
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