U.S. lawmakers sponsor bill to monitor delivery of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan
Taipei, July 2 (CNA) Two members of the United States House of Representatives have introduced a bill to Congress that seeks to track and expedite deliveries of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, amid growing tensions between Taipei and Beijing.
The bill dubbed as the Arms Exports Delivery Solutions Act was introduced on June 30 by Republican lawmakers Young Kim, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Michael McCaul, that committee's ranking member.
The bill seeks to ensure that "defense equipment already purchased from the U.S. by Taiwan and other allies in the [Indo-Pacific] region are tracked and delivered as efficiently as possible as the Chinese Communist Party eyes further aggression," Kim said in a press statement the same day.
"Delayed deliveries of Congressionally-approved sales to Taiwan are undermining our ability to deter an attack from China," McCaul said. "This is incredibly concerning as China ramps up its belligerence towards Taiwan."
Beijing says it wants to unify Taiwan through peaceful means, though it has not denounced the use of force to achieve its goal.
In the past few years, it has stepped up economic, political and military pressure on Taipei as it sees Taiwan's independence-leaning ruling party as not only refusing to accept the concept of "one China" each to its own interpretation, which the previous Taiwanese government had accepted, but both Taipei and Washington taking actions it thinks are attempts to change the status quo.
In response, Chinese military aircraft have flown into international airspace that Taiwan considers its air defense identification zone, actions seen by the U.S. and Taiwan as provocative. As a result, some U.S. lawmakers have argued weapons sales and deliveries to Taiwan should be prioritized.
The bill would require President Joe Biden's government to submit a report to Congress before March 1, 2023, listing the approved sales of U.S. defense articles or services worth US$25 million to Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand that have not been fully delivered.
Under the bill, the report should provide reasons regarding any changes or delays on the part of the U.S. in its transfer of the approved defense items while outlining possible measures the U.S can take with Congress' authorization to provide "interim capabilities or solutions" to its partners subject to such delays.
The report should also provide a description of "the actions the United States is taking to expedite deliveries of defense articles and services to Taiwan," the bill said.
It expressed that prioritizing the defense needs of U.S. allies and partners is "a national security priority" and that the United States' sustained defense support to its key partners benefits both American nationals and international trade.
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