U.S. senator proposes legislation to expedite arms sales to Taiwan

04/08/2022 10:25 PM
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Washington, April 8 (CNA) United States Senator Josh Hawley introduced a bill on Thursday that he said would "fast-track weapons to Taiwan" amid increasing tensions between Taiwan and China.

Hawley, the junior Republican senator representing the state of Missouri, said in a statement that the Taiwan Weapons Exports Act seeks to fast-track the delivery of critical weapons to Taiwan by expediting Congressional approval and eliminating administrative roadblocks.

According to the statement, it is critical to ensure Taiwan has the weapons it needs to defend itself, including naval mines, anti-tank missiles, and man-portable air defense systems, as the threat of a Chinese invasion is growing rapidly.

The bill seeks to re-designate Taiwan as a member of Country Group A:5 from its current Country Group A:6 for the purpose of receiving a strategic trade authorization license exception under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

Other countries that are also in Country Group A:5 include NATO member states, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and India, the statement noted.

Through the implementation of the EAR, the U.S. government imposes export controls to protect national security interests and promote foreign policy objectives, according to the U.S. International Trade Administration on its website.

In addition, the bill seeks to expedite licensing approval and Congressional review of arms sales to Taiwan while removing other administrative barriers, the statement said.

"The Biden administration waited for Russia to invade before surging lethal aid to Ukraine," Hawley said in the statement, adding that the "mistake" could not be repeated in the Indo-Pacific region. "That's why it is so important to fast-track weapons to Taiwan, now, while Taiwan still has time to marshal its defenses and deter a Chinese invasion."

The senator also introduced two bills in 2021 that he said were part of efforts to "deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations" -- the Taiwan Defense Act of 2021 and the Arm Taiwan Act of 2021.

(By Teng Pei-ju)

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