Sen. Rubio introduces bill to speed up weapons sales to Taiwan, boost joint military training

  • U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a bill Tuesday designed to strengthen Taiwan’s defenses through fast-tracked weapons sales and a joint training program, among other measures.
  • The bill, titled Taiwan Peace through Strength Act of 2022, will essentially require assessments on Taipei’s defensive capabilities and Washington’s readiness to defend the island.
  • The legislation also includes arms-focused amendments to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.
  • While he believes China could attack Taiwan within the decade, Rubio says his bill “will make Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party think twice before launching a foolish invasion.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Tuesday introduced a bill designed to strengthen Taiwan’s defensive capabilities through fast-tracked weapons sales and a joint training program, among other measures.

The legislation, titled Taiwan Peace through Strength Act of 2022, is a response to China’s threat of invasion, which observers perceive as a looming reality in relation to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Months before the crisis in Eastern Europe, Taiwan had projected a full-scale Chinese invasion by 2025. Tensions escalated last week when the U.S. sent destroyer USS Sampson through the heavily-militarized Taiwan Strait.

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“Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is not the first time an authoritarian regime invaded its neighbor and, unfortunately, it won’t be the last,” Rubio said in a statement. “An invasion of Taiwan could happen within this decade.”

The bill will require the secretary of defense to conduct a classified review of Washington’s plans to defend Taipei. This review must include an assessment of the island’s current and near-term capabilities, a detailed strategy of denial to defend the island, and an assessment of risks to the U.S. and its interests, among other elements.

The secretary of state will also be required to compile a list of “available and emerging military platforms, technologies and equipment” that are prioritized for Taiwanese sale through the Foreign Military Sales program. Those items must represent a full-range of key asymmetric and conventional capabilities informed by both American and Taiwanese assessments.

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The bill will also establish a joint training program designed to achieve interoperability and improve Taiwan’s defenses. It will include contingency tabletop exercises, war games, full-scale military exercises, and “an enduring rotational United States military advisory group,” which will ensure Taiwan’s force readiness.

The bill contains amendments to the Taiwan Relations Act, the 1979 law that allows the U.S. to provide arms to Taiwan. All amendments have been phrased to respond specifically to the threat posed by China’s People’s Liberation Army.

“Taiwan needs our support, and my bill will make Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party think twice before launching a foolish invasion,” Rubio said. “We must do all we can to deter an attack on Taiwan, or we risk losing the Indo-Pacific region to the Chinese Communist Party.”

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Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday that the U.S. is working with Taiwan to counter China’s disinformation agenda. He said the partnership will support “independent, fact-based journalism, to try to build societal resilience to disinformation and other forms of foreign interference.”

 

Featured Image via Sen. Marco Rubio

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