Washington's first direct military aid to Taiwan reaches key milestone
The United States wants to offer for 4.5 billion weapons in Taiwan over the next four years.
Washington's first direct military aid to Taiwan passed a key milestone in the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, with the vote likely to provoke ire of Beijing.
It is the most significant overhaul of US policy toward Taiwan since 1979, when Washington recognized Beijing while agreeing to maintain the island's self-defense capability. assure senators Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham, at the head of this initiative.
Their bill, passed by the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, calls for nearly $4.5 billion in direct military aid to Taiwan over the next four years. It also demands that the US President impose sanctions on major Chinese financial institutions in response to any escalation in hostile acts toward Taiwan.
The Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, as it is called, also plans to grant the island the status of a major non-NATO ally.
This vote in committee is only the first step in a long legislative process: the text must now be adopted in plenary session in the Senate, then in the House, before being promulgated by Joe Biden.
It still marks a significant rapprochement between the United States and Taiwan, at a time when relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest in decades.< /p>
The White House is therefore navigating this file with great caution.
We will continue to communicate directly with Congress on this text, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said evasively on Wednesday, before assuring that the Biden administration would continue to deepen its partnership with Taiwan with strong diplomatic, economic and military support.
This vote in Congress comes just days after Washington sold $1.1 billion in arms in Taiwan, and a little over a month after a visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, which provoked the fury of Beijing.
China had then launched the most important military maneuvers in its history around the island.
Before the visit to Taiwan of Mrs Pelosi, number three of the United States and more senior American official to visit the island for decades, Joe Biden's entourage had already quietly let China know that it did not represent the administration's policy, the Congress being a separate branch of government.
China considers Taiwan, with a population of approximately 23 million, to be one of its provinces, and that it has not yet succeeded in reintegrating it with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War (1949).
In seven decades, the communist army could never conquer the island, which remained under the control of the Republic of China – the regime which once ruled mainland China and now rules only Taiwan.