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The United States will provide Taiwan with a weapons aid package worth $345 million (Rs. 2,838 crore). Despite the fact that the details of the arms package are being kept secret, this step is certain to upset China, as Taiwan firmly rejects China’s claims of sovereignty.
The 2023 budget gives Congress the authority to provide up to $1 billion (8,226 crore) in weapons aid to Taiwan, much to the chagrin of Beijing, which has been the island’s principal supplier of armaments and consistently requests that the US desist from sending weapons to Taiwan.
The weapon systems included in the aid package were not disclosed in the official statement. Previous sources suggested that the shipment could include four unarmed MQ-9A reconnaissance drones.
Nonetheless, the final equipment selection may be open to change, as officials are considering deleting certain advanced equipment that is only accessible to the US Air Force, according to Reuters.
In the context of growing tensions between the United States, Taiwan, and China, the revelation of this weaponry aid package highlights the region’s deep complexity. The repercussions of this move have far-reaching implications for East Asian geopolitical developments.
Taiwan’s defense ministry commended the United States for its “firm security commitment,” adding that owing to the “tacit agreement” between the two sides, it will not comment on the package’s details.
One of the obstacles that may stymie the inclusion of the drones was who would pay for their modifications, according to one of the people informed on the situation before. Reuters was unable to determine whether the drones were still included in the box.
Taiwan has earlier agreed to buy four more advanced MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones from General Atomics, with delivery scheduled for 2025.
Why United States’ move may provoke China
China regards Taiwan, which is democratically administered, as part of its own territory and has increased military intimidation of the island in the previous three years. China has reiterated its willingness to use force if necessary to regain control of Taiwan.
Taiwan, on the other hand, adamantly opposes China’s claims of sovereignty and insists that the island’s future should be decided completely by the Taiwanese people.