Asia Minute: What does Ukraine have to do with Taiwan?
Taiwan's president is expected to meet U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California on Wednesday. It's a stop on her way home from a trip to Latin America, but it may involve more than just a photo opportunity.
That's because Taiwan has a Ukraine problem — and the U.S. is right in the middle of it.
It's about the sale of military equipment and a backlog of items that have been cleared for export by the U.S. government, but have not been delivered.
Defense News reported that one of the issues is that Harpoon and Stinger missiles that were approved for sale to Taiwan have been shifted to Ukraine to help in fighting Russia’s invasion.
The New York Times and others have reported that stockpiles of certain defensive systems are being depleted and production by U.S. suppliers has not caught up with demand.
When it comes to Taiwan specifically, U.S. government officials have publicly put the shortfall between what has been approved and what has been delivered at roughly $19 billion.
Items range from F-16 fighter aircraft to missiles and rocket systems.
Late last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said a team is working to fix that backlog, but the issue may get more publicity after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-Wen on Wednesday.
Tsai is making a stop-over on the west coast following a trip to Latin America.
In 2019, she made a similar stop in Hawaiʻi, following a trip to several Pacific Island nations.