The US’ contribution to Taiwan’s military capability increased this week to US$480 million in combined grants that can be spent directly in the US and drawdowns from US inventories, documents showed.
The US Department of State on Monday notified lawmakers that it was increasing by US$55 million the amount of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) that Taiwan can spend.
The funds were shifted from money meant for Egypt. That is on top of US$80 million in FMF funding for Taiwan that the administration notified the US Congress about on Aug. 31.
Photo: AFP / the Ministry of National Defense
Washington has previously allowed the funding mechanism to be used only by select major allies such as Israel and Egypt.
The White House announced in late July the first ever drawdown from US inventories for Taiwan of US$345 million in equipment and arms, which it did not itemize.
The State Department’s justification documents said that the FMF funding could be used to buy equipment ranging from air and coastal defense systems, rocket artillery, a widely used US air defense and counter-rocket system called C-RAM and counter-drone systems to equipment for soldiers and small arms.
The FMF funding was authorized for Taiwan in this year’s defense policy bill and allow as much as US$2 billion a year to be appropriated through 2027.
However, some lawmakers remain unhappy with the actual amounts offered to date.
“The [US President Joe] Biden administration’s decision to provide US$55 million in foreign military financing to Taiwan is a pittance compared to Taiwan’s enormous needs for self-defense and the United States’ clear national interest in supporting Taipei,” US Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the US Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
The US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee is to convene a hearing on Tuesday regarding defense cooperation with Taiwan with witnesses from the Pentagon and the State Department.
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