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More US military aid for Taiwan inches closer despite Trump's opposition

US Senate struggles to pass military, humanitarian aid package amid partisan division

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Donald Trump holds a campaign rally on Saturday. (REUTERS, Sam Wolfe photo)

Donald Trump holds a campaign rally on Saturday. (REUTERS, Sam Wolfe photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. lawmakers have come one step closer to securing an aid package that would provide around US$1.9 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, while also providing more weapons for Ukraine and Israel to continue their respective wars.

The aid package contains a mixture of money for the countries to purchase weapons and supply their militaries, for U.S. military operations abroad, and for humanitarian assistance to some regions, per the AP. If passed, the package will be worth US$95 billion in total, and provide US$29 billion in weapons and military aid to Ukraine, along with US$5.2 billion in weapons and military aid for Israel.

U.S. lawmakers have come closer to passing the bill, despite U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s opposition. Writing on social media in capital letters on Sunday, Trump said, “No form of foreign aid should be given away to any country unless it is done as a loan.”

“It can be loaned on extraordinarily good terms, like no interest and an unlimited life, but a loan nevertheless. The deal should be (contingent!) that the U.S. is helping you, as a nation,” Trump continued.

Other members of Trump’s Republican Party criticized opposition from within their party, per Reuters. "This is idle work for idle minds, and it has no place in the United States Senate," Republican leader Mitch McConnell said. "American leadership matters, and it is in question."

In addition to Trump, the package was also opposed by Senator Bernie Sanders, who said that the U.S. is an active participant with Israel in the war in Gaza. Sanders, who in December called the actions of the Israeli government in Gaza a violation of international law, was one of 27 senators who voted against the bill to 67 who voted for it.

Israel’s military action in response to Hamas’ October attack has killed an estimated 28,000 Palestinians. It has been labeled as a “textbook genocide” by a former top United Nations human rights official, who stepped down following what he said was U.N. inaction amid the conflict.

Other Republicans who opposed the bill cited disagreements about funding for the U.S.’s southern border with Mexico, and whether the U.S. should continue to provide aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia. The funding has been described as crucial to Ukraine’s ability to fight Russia, as the war approaches its second year.

The next action on the bill by the U.S. Senate is expected sometime on Tuesday Taiwan time.