The Biden administration is planning to use authority that it has relied on to expedite aid to Ukraine, according to Bloomberg. The Defense Department will take from stockpiles of U.S. weapons and ammunition under the Presidential Drawdown Authority to give to Taiwan.
The package would be the first sent to Taiwan using the drawdown authority. The Biden administration is looking to streamline U.S. aid to Taiwan because of assessments that China is undeterred in its ambition to retake the island nation.
The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act allocated $3 billion in annual military aid to Taiwan, according to Defense News. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March that the Pentagon intends to send $1 billion in aid to Taiwan with the Presidential Drawdown Authority.
The Biden administration has already sent tens of billions of dollars-worth of aid to Ukraine using the fast-track authority since Russia’s invasion last year. Between January 2022 to February 2023, the United States has committed nearly $80 billion in aid to Ukraine, according to a tracker at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. About $48 billion of that aid is military, $4 billion is humanitarian, and $27 billion is economic.
Diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington have grown strained in recent years, souring even further after a Chinese spy balloon was identified over Montana and floated across the continental United States in February before the U.S. military shot it down over the Atlantic Ocean.
The Chinese foreign ministry called the balloon saga “totally accidental” and expressed “strong discontent” at the U.S. shooting down the spy apparatus.
“In these circumstances, for the United States to insist on using armed force is clearly an excessive reaction that seriously violates international convention,” Beijing said in a statement. “China will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise involved, and retains the right to respond further.”
While the U.S. and China have grown increasingly hostile, China and Russia have made moves to strengthen their ties. The cooperation between Beijing and Moscow has fueled concern that the world is moving closer to broader instability and conflict, according to Bloomberg.