Asia Minute: Trump Administration Ramps Up Support of Taiwan

Oct 29, 2018

Taiwan Air Force C-130 transport aircraft
Credit Steven Byles / Flickr

Congress won’t be back in session until after Election Day. But before leaving Washington, lawmakers allowed an action to go ahead that’s likely to raise some objections in China.

Congress has quietly allowed the Trump Administration to go ahead with another 330 million dollars in arms sales to Taiwan.

There’s a Congressional 30-day review process that’s part of the law — but no one objected, so the latest sale became official last week. It’s the second U.S. arms sale to Taiwan in less than a year and a half — following a 1.4 billion dollar deal in June of 2017.

The Pentagon says the latest sale covers a lot of spare parts — from the F-16 fighter jet to the C-130 transport plane. And Taiwan’s Central News Agency reports the deal includes upgrades to 144 F-16’s.

The arms deal is also the Trump Administration’s latest show of support for the government in Taipei.

Last week, two U.S. Navy warships passed through the Taiwan Strait — for the second time in a year. China’s Foreign Ministry has complained about both the naval transit and the arms deal.

U.S. Capitol building
Credit Architect of the Capitol / Wikimedia Commons

That reaction is not a surprise, but the pace of both activities is increasing.

Earlier this year, the Taiwan Travel Act allowed more visits between U.S and Taiwanese government officials.

This week, a regularly-scheduled U.S. Taiwan defense conference gets underway in Annapolis, Maryland — a meeting that includes Taiwan’s deputy defense minister.