The US will provide aid worth 500 million USD to Taipei for expanding its Military Arsenal at a time of an impending invasion across the straits.
U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration plan to send and dispatch aid valued at USD 500 million to Taiwan. As per an anonymous source, the aid will be sent through an emergency authority, the “Presidential Drawdown Authority”.
This comes as a respite for Taiwan, especially over the fact that Taipei has complained about the American weapons-related delays since 2022 which included the F-16V fighter jets and the Stinger Anti-Aircraft Missiles due to the shift in the priorities of the weapon manufacturers towards Ukraine as well as the recurring fears of a Chinese invasion after China conducted war games across the straits after the meeting of the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen with the US House of Representative Speaker Kevin McCarthy last month.
Yesterday, Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng stated how the country is working to compensate for delayed weapon deliveries.
What is the Presidential Drawdown Authority?
The Presidential Drawdown Authority is a provision which comes under the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961. The Foreign Assistance Act deals with the transfers of foreign aid and well as led to the creation of the USAID, a body which deals with Non-Miltary and Economic Aid.
The Presidential Drawdown Authority falls under section 506(a)(1) of the FAA. The Provision states that there will be a speedy delivery of military supplies and services from the US Department of Defence to a foreign country or a supranational organization in the case of unforeseen emergency scenarios.
The Secretary of State is responsible for the authorization and coordination of the directives of the order with relevant bodies. These bodies also include the US Congress and the Department of State. When passed, these orders can provide a swift delivery of the aid within a few days or even hours.
This provision has been used about 37 times by the incumbent president of Ukraine to provide military support to the European Country.
Under the US budget for 2023, the US Congress has approved aid worth USD 1 billion worth for Taiwan via the special provision.
A spokesperson from Pentagon revealed that U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, revealing the intentions of using the special provision. However, the spokesperson declined any comments on the status of the special aid which would be provided to Taiwan.
US-Taiwan has always had a history of cordial relationships in recent years. The two countries mutually benefit from bilateral trade and military relations. The relationship is governed by the “Taiwan Relations Act”, which enables the duo to have unofficial relations with each other since the US recognition of the PRC in 1979.
The two nations have “defacto embassies” in their capital and major cities, with the American Institute in Taiwan based in Taipei and Kaohsiung and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington DC, Guam, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, and several other cities in the US.
On May 23, 2022, US President Joe Biden vowed to provide a defence to Taiwan in case of an invasion by China at a time when China increased its military presence across the Taiwan straits in the last three years and toyed with the possibility of an incoming invasion. He reiterated his stance in later that year as well.
The US has also brought in like-minded nations like Japan, South Korea and the Philippines to provide military assistance and support as well as gained their reassurance towards the commitment to defend Taiwan in case the Invasion takes place. The three countries also have their concerns about the growing Chinese presence as well as have crucial investments with Taiwan in several sectors.
America’s growing interest in the Indo-Pacific in recent times through their engagements and activities within the G7 and G20, as well as the recent visits by the leaders of South Korea and the Philippines, shows that the US is ready to counter China in its regional front.