Focus Taiwan App
Download

Visiting U.S. congressmen propose ways of expediting Taiwan's arms orders

02/22/2024 05:02 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
President Tai Ing-wen (right) greets U.S. Congressmen Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi at the Presidential Office in Taipei Thursday. Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office Feb. 22, 2024
President Tai Ing-wen (right) greets U.S. Congressmen Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi at the Presidential Office in Taipei Thursday. Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office Feb. 22, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) Two visiting members of the United States Congress on Thursday proposed ways of speeding up their country's delivery of military weapons to Taiwan, including the possibility of joint production to deal with the current backlog of orders.

Republican Mike Gallagher and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, who are part of a congressional delegation on a three-day visit to Taiwan, said at a press conference in Taipei that such arrangements could be made in light of the fact that U.S.' defense industrial sector is "under tremendous stress" with regards to weapons production.

Krishnamoorthi, a ranking member of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), suggested that one solution could be for the U.S. to allow joint production with Taiwan of some weapons that do not need intellectual property transfer, such as 155 millimeter artillery, which is currently in high demand due to the Ukraine-Russian war.

These are items required for deterrence, which can be made locally, and "we don't have to worry about necessarily stressing the supply chains in other parts of the world," said Krishnamoorthi, when asked if Congress could help facilitate faster delivery of Taiwan's backlogged arms orders from the U.S., which total some US$20 billion.

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has been doing its best to expedite the shipment of arms and articles of self-defense to Taiwan, said Krishnamoorthi, one of five bipartisan members of the visiting delegation from the House committee.

U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher speaks during a meeting with Vice President Lai Ching-te at the Presidential Office in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo Feb. 22, 2024
U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher speaks during a meeting with Vice President Lai Ching-te at the Presidential Office in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo Feb. 22, 2024

Addressing the same question, Gallagher, who chairs the House committee and is leading the delegation, said the backlog was due to bureaucracy in Washington regarding foreign military sales.

He proposed that his committee put forth a "multi-year appropriation" bill for the supply of critical munition, which would allow arms producers to move from "minimum sustaining rates of production to maximum production rates and invest in workforce and facilitation."

Gallagher said he would also suggest that the Pentagon reconfigure the approximately 200 harpoon missiles in its inventory and deliver them to Taiwan as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, on the issue of China's growing aggression in the Indo-Pacific region, Gallagher said the U.S. should remain engaged in projects like the Compact of Free Association (COFA), a financial aid agreement it has with Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

"We have to be here in the region, constantly signaling to our friends that we stand with them and constantly signaling to our enemies that we won't stand by as they pursue the route of aggression," he said, adding that Congress had recently been debating the question of whether to renew the appropriation funds for COFA.

Palau and the Marshall Islands, two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, recently wrote to the U.S. Congress, asking that the COFA funding be renewed and warning that they had been receiving generous offers from China to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

The letter was sent after the Pacific island nation of Nauru severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan and resumed relations with China last month, amid aggressive efforts by Beijing to peel off Taipei's allies.

Earlier Thursday, Gallagher and his delegation met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and President-elect Lai Ching-te (賴清德) to discuss the current situation in the Indo-Pacific region and other issues of mutual concern.

In the meeting at the Presidential Office, Tsai thanked the Biden administration and U.S. Congress for their continued assistance to Taiwan to strengthen its self-defense capability.

"Together we are safeguarding freedom and democracy and maintaining regional peace," she told the delegation, which includes Republican representatives John Moolenaar and Dusty Johnson, as well as Democrats Krishnamoorthi and Seth Moulton.

In turn, Gallagher said that the visit by his delegation was an indication of bipartisan support in the Congress for the U.S.-Taiwan partnership.

He congratulated Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party for winning an unprecedented third term in the presidential election in January, and he thanked the outgoing president for her leadership over the past eight years, which he said had helped to build rock solid ties between Taiwan and the U.S.

The delegation's three-day visit to Taiwan, which concludes Saturday, is part of a wider trip to the Indo-Pacific region, aimed at building consensus on responses to the threat posed by the CCP and developing strategies to help the U.S. compete with China in the region.

(By Joseph Yeh)

Enditem/pc

    0:00
    /
    0:00
    We value your privacy.
    Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.
    172.30.142.104