TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher urged Washington to prioritize providing weapons to Taiwan in order to deter Chinese aggression.
“We need to be moving heaven and earth to arm Taiwan to the teeth to avoid a war,” Gallagher told the Washington Post. “Nobody knows if and when Xi Jinping wakes up and decides to do this but all the more reason to put in place a denial posture as quickly as possible.”
The representative, who just returned from a secret four-day trip to Taiwan, said that his major takeaway was that “the Taiwanese are doing everything we could ask of them” to bolster their defense capabilities.
Many of the Taiwanese officials he met viewed the war in Ukraine as a wake-up call, he said, adding that he intends to use his position in the newly established House select committee on China to highlight the importance of heavily arming Taiwan.
“Our best chance of preventing an invasion of Taiwan, and of essentially preventing World War III, is to put actual hard power on Taiwan … and, to paraphrase President Tsai, to ensure that every day, when she wakes up, we are increasing the cost of an invasion for Xi Jinping,” he said.
Gallagher pointed out that Taiwan is increasing its defense spending to roughly 2.4% of its GDP, while many NATO countries still fail to commit to the 2% of GDP military spending guideline. Taiwan has purchased multiple weapons platforms from the U.S. in recent years but has yet to receive them due to a backlog in orders from other nations.
In 2021, Taiwan bought 400 Harpoon missiles and 100 launchers for US$1.6 billion (NT$48.6 billion). However, because Saudi Arabia made a purchase of Harpoon missiles before Taiwan, it is ahead in the delivery queue.
“Taiwan should be moved to the front of the line for the Harpoons,” Gallagher said. For Saudi Arabia to receive the missiles first “doesn’t make any strategic sense to me,” he said.