The Taiwanese government is facing delays in arms shipments from the US of up to $19 billion despite escalating tensions with China.
Washington officials fear that the continuing military support for Ukraine will further hamper the country’s commitment to boosting Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Among the delayed weapons are Javelin anti-tank weapons, Stinger surface-to-air missiles, and M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers.
The first set of howitzers, supposed to be delivered between 2023 and 2025, and the phased shipments of Stingers expected in 2026, have been held up due to “tight production in the US and changes in the international situation.”
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry reported potential delays in the deliveries of crucial military equipment earlier this year as Washington ramped up its military aid to Kyiv.
However, National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby clarified that the US continues to balance its responsibilities in supporting allies in their military and readiness needs.
“We are constantly balancing, as we must, our own inventories, the inventories of our allies and partners and people that we do conduct arms sales with, as well as, of course, the inventory that the Ukrainian armed forces need to fight Russian aggression,” he said.
“We take very seriously our responsibility to help provide Taiwan the self-defense capabilities that it needs. That’s in accordance with law and policy, and that’s not going to change.”
Arms Package for Taiwan
The Biden administration recently approved a $1.1-billion arms package to the East Asian nation following unidentified drone incursions over an outlying Taiwanese island.
The September deal guarantees $665 million for contractor support to maintain and upgrade a Raytheon early radar warning system.
Another $355 million has been allocated for 60 Harpoon Block II missiles to track and sink incoming Chinese vessels, with $85.6 million for more than 100 Sidewinder missiles to provide Taiwanese forces with air-to-air firepower.