"Taipei had to wait through nearly the entire second term of the Obama administration before it could secure a new arms package from Washington"
Washington on December 16 authorized a new and long-awaited arms package for Taiwan, ending an over four year hiatus in U.S. weapons sales to the island-nation—the longest such hiatus since the late 1980s. Although the approximately $1.83 billion arms package does not include any defense article that is remotely close to a “game changer,” notifications to Congress nevertheless send an important signal of continued political support for Taipei—perhaps even more so this time around, as it occurs one month prior to presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan in which the “pro independence” opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is widely expected to prevail.
Included in the package—which is not a commitment on Taipei’s part but rather a list of articles authorized for sale—are two decommissioned FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates (of four that were authorized for transfer to Taiwan in 2014) plus refurbishment and upgrades; 36 AAV-7 Assault Amphibious Vehicles; 13 MK 15 Phalanx Block 1B ship defense Close-In Weapon Systems, upgrade kits, ammunition, and support; 208 Javelin guided missiles; 769 BGM-71F-series TOW 2B Aero Radio Frequency anti-armor missiles; 250 Block I-92F MANPAD Stinger missiles; Taiwan Advanced Tactical Data Link System (TATDLS) and Link 11 communication systems integration; as well as follow-on support for Taiwan’s previously procured MIDS/LVT-1 and JTIDS.
My article, published today in The National Interest, continues here.