President Joe Biden of the United States has granted military assistance to Taiwan through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) initiative, typically reserved for independent nations. According to a communication sent to Congress and reviewed by Reuters news agency on Wednesday, August 30th, relevant congressional committees have been apprised of the US State Department’s plan to allocate a sum of up to $80 million from the FMF funds to provide assistance to Taiwan.
“FMF will be used to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defence capabilities through joint and combined defence capability and enhanced maritime domain awareness and maritime security capability,” the notification read.
Taiwan’s defence ministry thanked the US but did not give any details about this military aid. The ministry noted that Washington has already been helping strengthen Taiwan’s combat capabilities under existing policies and laws.
What is FMF?
According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSAC), which is part of the US Department of Defense, FMF is a source of financing and may be provided to a partner nation on either a grant (non-repayable) or direct loan basis.
FMF enables eligible partner nations to purchase American defence articles, services, and training through either Foreign Military Sales (FMS) or, for a limited number of countries, through the foreign military financing of direct commercial contracts (FMF/DCC) program, the DSAC says.
On Wednesday, Representative Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was glad the administration was “finally” providing FMF to Taiwan.
“These weapons will not only help Taiwan and protect other democracies in the region but also strengthen the US deterrence posture and ensure our national security from an increasingly aggressive CCP (Chinese Communist Party),” McCaul said in a statement.
China claims Taiwan as its territory and has warned against any forms of “official exchanges” between the US and Taiwan. Beijing has repeatedly complained to Washington about military aid and sales to the island.
US announces Taiwan weapons aid package worth $345 million
On July 28, the US announced a Taiwan weapons aid package worth up to $345 million. Citing sources, Reuters reported that the package was expected to include four unarmed MQ-9A reconnaissance drones.
Taiwan thanked the US for the package but did not disclose any details about it. Last week, the United States also approved a possible $500 million sale to Taiwan of infrared search and track systems for F-16 fighter jets, as well as other equipment.