The US is quietly arming Taiwan to the teeth
To the casual observer, it did not appear to be a large sum. The cost was less than the cost of one modern fighter jet. Over $14 billion worth of US military equipment has already been ordered by Taiwan. What is the point of an extra $80 million?
Beijing’s default response to Taiwan’s military support is fury, but this time something was different.
This $80m is not a loan. The money comes from American taxpayers. The United States is sending weapons to a country it does not recognize for the first time in more than 40 years. A program called foreign military finance (FMF) is responsible for this.
FMF has been used to send around $4 billion of military aid to Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine last year. It has been used to send billions more to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, etc. However, until now, it has only been granted to UN-recognized countries and organizations. This is not the case with Taiwan.
Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the US continued to sell weapons to Taiwan after it switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979. It was important to sell Taiwan just enough weapons to defend itself against Chinese attacks, but not too many so as to destabilize Washington-Beijing relations. As Taiwan’s staunchest ally, the US has relied on this so-called strategic ambiguity to do business with China.