In a significant development U.S. business groups have been critical of the Biden Administration’s Taiwan arms sales policy. In a public letter they said, the policies are too restrictive and failed to address challenges posed by China’s military towards Taiwan.
While earlier successive U.S. administrations had pushed Taiwan to modernize its military in order to help it outlast any initial assault by the PLA, the letter by the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council states that the Biden Administration had adopted a more rigid, stricter stance, by only agreeing to sell weapons that address “an all-out D-Day style invasion” of Taiwan.
Military capabilities that do not apply to this scenario are being denied, including those that address China’s ongoing coercive gray zone activities in Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), said the group in the letter in reference to the PLA’s military sorties which have routinely breached Taiwan ADIZ in the last two years, in an attempt to exhaust Taiwan’s forces.
“Far from accelerating Taiwan’s deterrent capabilities, we fear that the envisaged ‘asymmetric’ focus for Taiwan security assistance will result in policy confusion and a substantial slowing of overall arms sales,” stated the groups, which count U.S. defense contractors among their members.
The Biden Administration was deterring Taiwan from submitting requests for some platforms, including for MH-60R helicopters, because they “do not fit” with the strategy, said the groups.
Earlier this month, Taiwan had signaled that it had abandoned a plan to buy 12 of the advanced anti-submarine warfare helicopters from the United States because they were too expensive.
“Continuing to pursue systems that will not meaningfully contribute to an effective defense strategy is inconsistent with the evolving security threat that Taiwan faces,” said a spokesman from the States Department.
China has not renounced the use of force to annex Taiwan and has in fact said, it aims to do so in the near future.
U.S law requires Washington to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.