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US congressmen introduce bill to speed up arms transfers to Taiwan

Accelerating Arms Transfers to Taiwan Act would make nation eligible for priority weapons delivery

U.S Capitol building.

U.S Capitol building. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Representatives Steve Chabot and Brad Sherman introduced the Accelerating Arms Transfers to Taiwan Act, which urges faster shipment of weapons already purchased by Taiwan.

If passed, the bill would allow Taiwan to receive priority delivery status with regard to the transfer of defensive arms. It would also require the secretary of defense to utilize the Special Defense Acquisition Fund to speed up weapons procurement for Taiwan, according to a press release from Steve Chabot’s office.

Additionally, the proposed legislation would approve the formation of a war reserve stockpile in Taiwan.

The bill follows a similar one introduced by Representatives Young Kim and Michael McCaul in July, called the Arms Exports Delivery Solutions Act. It sought to expedite the shipment of weapons to Taiwan by improving the transparency of the arms sale process.

“Taiwan faces an existential threat from the People’s Republic of China, a threat which the Taiwan Relations Act recognizes has profound implications for American interests in the Indo-Pacific,” Chabot said.

The congressman said the U.S. and Taiwan have not taken the issue seriously enough. He pointed out that the Ukraine model of arms deliveries following an invasion is not a feasible one for Taiwan’s defense.

Thus, the bill would bring about faster weapons shipments “so that Taiwan is prepared before it is too late.”

“America's resolve to preserve democracy, in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad," Sherman said, adding that the bill is a symbol of U.S. commitment to its regional allies amid increasing threats. He added that as a member of the Taiwan Congressional Caucus and a longtime friend of Taiwan, he is proud to help “uphold and defend Taiwan’s democracy.”

The U.S. approved a US$1.17 billion (NT$33.69 billion) arms package including anti-ship and air-to-air missiles for Taiwan, earlier this month. The deal consists of 60 AGM-84-L1 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, four ATM-84-L1 Harpoon exercise missiles, 100 AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, four AIM-9X tactical guidance units, and logistics support for a Surveillance Radar System as well as spare parts, repairs, and technical assistance.