0407: U.S. Arms Package to Taiwan, Taiwan’s Inclusion in IPEF Urged, Oudkirk’s Remarks on AIT’s Top Priorities

U.S. Approves Third Arms Package to Taiwan During Biden Administration

On April 5, the U.S. government announced that it had approved its third arms package to Taiwan since President Joe Biden took office, a US$95 million sale of equipment and services to maintain Taiwan’s U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system.

“The proposed sale will help to sustain [Taiwan’s] missile density and ensure readiness for air operations,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement. It added that Taiwan would use the proposed services and equipment to strengthen homeland defense and deter regional threats.

The sale will include training, planning, fielding, deployment, operation, maintenance, and sustainment of the Patriot system, associated equipment, and logistics support elements, as well as ground support equipment and spare parts, the DSCA statement said.

Taiwan thanked the United States for its approval of the latest arms package.

The latest defensive arms sale showed the U.S.’ determination to boost Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said, pledging that Taiwan will continue to solidify its security ties with the U.S. to jointly preserve regional and cross-strait peace.

“In the face of China’s continuing military expansion and provocation, Taiwan must fully demonstrate its strong determination to defend itself,” Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said, adding that Taiwan will continue to strengthen its “self-defense and asymmetric combat capabilities.”

The latest arms purchase comes as Taiwan closely watches ongoing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as it also lives under the constant threat of a military attack by a giant neighbor, China.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202204060002
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/04/07/2003776145

200 U.S. House Members Urge Commerce, USTR to Include Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

On March 30, Reps. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), and Steve Chabot (R-OH), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, led a bipartisan group of 200 House representatives in sending a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to express their support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the planned U.S.-led “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” (IPEF).

“As Taiwan is a major economy in the Indo-Pacific region, we strongly believe that Taiwan should be invited to participate in the IPEF,” the lawmakers wrote, adding that “Taiwan has already expressed an interest in participating in the IPEF.”

“Taiwan has long been an important trading partner of the United States and was its 8th largest in 2021 with $114 billion in total trade. It has served a critical role in diversifying the U.S. supply chain, which has become increasingly dependent on the People’s Republic of China (PRC),” said the letter. 

“Since 2020, Taiwan and the United States have engaged in the U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, covering a broad range of economic issues including digital commerce, 5G networks, telecommunications security, supply chains, infrastructure cooperation, renewable energy, global heath, and science and technology—many of the same issues to be addressed by the IPEF,” the House representatives wrote.

“Taiwan’s inclusion would also send a clear signal that the United States stands with its allies and partners, and will not be bullied by the PRC,” they added.

“Mindful of Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine, it is critically important for the United States to unequivocally support Taiwan as it confronts an increasingly bellicose PRC. Taiwan’s admission to the IPEF would be an essential step in demonstrating America’s resolve to protect, defend, and strengthen that key partnership,” the letter concluded.

[1] Taiwan Caucus’ Full Letter Text: https://sires.house.gov/sites/sires.house.gov/files/documents/Taiwan%20IPEF%20Final.pdf
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202203310019

AIT Seeks to Strengthen U.S.-Taiwan Security Ties and Expand Taiwan’s International Space: Oudkirk

On March 30, the de facto U.S. ambassador to Taiwan, Sandra Oudkirk, listed strengthening the U.S.-Taiwan security partnership and expanding Taiwan’s international space among her top priorities as the director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

Speaking during the annual “Hsieh Nien Fan” banquet in Taipei hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan, AIT Director Oudkirk highlighted her top four priorities in Taiwan as the Joe Biden administration entered its second year in office.

The four primary objectives she mentioned were strengthening Taiwan’s role as a regional security partner, promoting global supply chain resilience, supporting efforts to preserve and expand Taiwan’s international space, and deepening bilateral economic and people-to-people ties.

First, the U.S. would continue to “strengthen Taiwan’s role as a regional security partner” and assist Taiwan in enhancing its defensive capabilities, as “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” is key to Indo-pacific regional peace and in the U.S.’ interests, Oudkirk said.

We are “deeply concerned by ongoing People’s Republic of China (PRC) efforts to undermine that stability,” she said, adding that “[the] PRC’s increasingly aggressive behavior is nowhere more evident than in relation to Taiwan, where the PRC has continued to exert military, diplomatic, and economic pressure.”

Second, the U.S. would work with Taiwan to “promote global supply chain resilience” through a series of initiatives, as Taiwan is at the center of the semiconductor supply chain, and a pioneer in 5G technology and artificial intelligence, Oudkirk said.

Third, the U.S. would continue to “support and expand Taiwan’s international space,” offering more opportunities for Taiwan to share its expertise at multilateral forums and interact with international partners, the AIT director said.

“Continued efforts by Beijing to choke Taiwan’s international space, pressure its friends, and interfere in Taiwan’s democratic system represent a threat to all democracies,” she said.

Fourth and finally, the U.S. would also strive to “[deepen] economic and people-to-people ties” with Taiwan in high-tech fields and beyond, she said, adding that it would help “build a coalition to counter the PRC’s unfair economic and investment policies.”

[1] Oudkirk’s Full Remarks: https://www.ait.org.tw/director-oudkirk-remarks-at-hsieh-nien-fan/
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202203310010
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/04/01/2003775809