1208: Taiwan Provisions in FY 2023 NDAA; U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan; Canada to Send More Warships Through Taiwan Strait

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Has Important Taiwan Provisions in It

On December 6, the U.S. Congress unveiled the latest version of the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023” (FY 2023 NDAA), which, among other important pro-Taiwan provisions, authorizes up to US$12 billion in grants and loans for Taiwan over the next five years to buy U.S. arms.

The act would authorize up to US$2 billion in annual grants from 2023 to 2027, as well as an additional US$2 billion in loans for Taiwan to bolster its military capabilities with weapons from the U.S.

It also authorizes a regional contingency stockpile for Taiwan of up to US$100 million in munitions a year for use in the event of a conflict.

The act also recommends Washington to invite Taiwan to attend the next U.S.-organized “Rim of the Pacific Exercise” (RIMPAC) — the world’s largest international maritime military exercise — in 2024.

The bill would also, among other things, reaffirm the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the Six Assurances as the cornerstones of U.S.-Taiwan relations; fast-track U.S. arms sales to Taiwan; counter China’s coercion and influence campaigns; create the “Taiwan Fellowship Program”; require report on the implementation of Taiwan Travel Act; and support Taiwan’s international participation.

This version of the NDAA, which is passed annually to set policy for the Pentagon, was a result of months of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

Reuters reported that the act is expected to pass the Senate and House this month, before being sent to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202212070016
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2022/12/08/2003790345

Taiwan Thanks U.S. for Approving $428 Million Arms Sales

On December 7, Taiwan’s government thanked the U.S. after it approved the sale of up to US$428 million worth of spare parts to replenish stocks for Taiwan’s military aircraft and support its air defenses — the seventh U.S. arms package to Taiwan under President Joe Biden.

The package will help Taiwan’s Air Force maintain aircraft combat readiness in the face of Beijing’s gray-zone warfare tactics, which include sending warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a statement.

It also exemplified Washington’s commitment to ensure that Taiwan has the capability to defend itself, as stated in the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances, the ministry said, expressing its “sincere gratitude” for the deal.

The MND’s statement came after the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced two arms sales to Taiwan on December 6 — one for standard spare parts, and another for non-standard spare parts and related equipment, worth US$330 million and US$98 million, respectively.

The two packages are meant to replenish “spare parts, consumables and accessories,” and provide “repair and replacement support for the F-16, C-130, Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), and all other aircraft and systems or subsystems of U.S. origin, as well as other related elements of logistics and program support,” the DSCA said.

The proposed sales are meant to “contribute to the sustainment of the recipient’s aerial fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats while providing defensive and transport capabilities critical to regional security,” it added.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a separate statement that the package “fully demonstrated the U.S. government’s high regard for Taiwan’s defense capabilities” amid increasing Chinese aggression.

Taiwan will continue to improve its defensive capabilities and, through close security cooperation with the U.S., maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait and contribute to the long-term peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region, it said.

Meanwhile, on December 7, a Taiwanese defense official confirmed the early delivery of AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missiles purchased from the U.S. in 2017.

The 50 missiles originally set for delivery next year “are already in Taiwan,” the official said.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202212070007
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/12/08/2003790326

Canada Plans to Send More Warships Through Taiwan Strait to Counter China

Canada plans to sail more warships through the Taiwan Strait to affirm the strait claimed by Beijing remains an international waterway, after Ottawa released an Indo-Pacific strategy that described China as “an increasingly disruptive global power.”

“We need to make sure that the question of the Taiwan Strait is clear and that it remains an international strait,” Canadian foreign minister Mélanie Joly said in an interview with Financial Times published on December 5.

“We will continue to enforce the international rules-based order when it comes to the Taiwan Strait. And that’s why also we had a frigate going through the Taiwan Strait this summer, along with the Americans, [and] we’re looking to have more frigates going through it,” she added.

Canada will challenge China when it disrupts the international order, Joly said earlier in an interview with Nikkei published on December 2.

“International norms have kept us safe since the Second World War and therefore need to be respected,” Joly said.

Canada’s new Indo-Pacific strategy announced in November called China “an increasingly disruptive global power,” and Joly backed this description, saying, “we see … examples of that, particularly in the East and South China Sea,” as well as the Taiwan Strait. “We will challenge China when it comes to international order being respected.”

China claims exclusive sovereignty over the Taiwan Strait and asserts that the freedom of navigation in the high seas does not apply to the waterway between mainland China and Taiwan. To counter that claim, Canada has sent frigates through the strait along with U.S. warships multiple times.

The last time a Canadian warship made such a passage was on September 20, 2022, when the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigate HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) transited the Taiwan Strait, together with the U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76).

[1] Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/b19721e8-7bfc-44f2-9f72-971a63d2bfac
[2] Nikkei Asia: https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Indo-Pacific/Canada-ready-to-challenge-China-increase-Indo-Pacific-role-minister2
[3] Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4742116