US bill to fast-track arms sales to Taiwan
US Senator Marco Rubio has introduced a bill aimed at fast-tracking the transfer of weapon systems to Taiwan and strengthening joint military training to ensure Taiwan can defend itself in case of a Chinese invasion.
According to Rubio, he proposed the bill because an invasion of Taiwan could happen within this decade and the island needs US support.Rubio also says he believes his bill "will make Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party think twice before launching a foolish invasion."
The Taiwan Peace Through Strength Act requires the US Department of Defense to conduct an annual review of America's war plans to defend Taiwan and develop a list of specific capabilities that Taiwan is approved to acquire based on that assessment.It states that the US fast-track foreign military sales to Taiwan.
And the bill also proposes amending the Taiwan Relations Act to replace "outdated language regarding 'arms of a defensive character' with new language that sets an enhanced standard for arms sales to deter conflict with China.
In other defence news, the minister of the Ministry of National Defense, Chiu Kuo-cheng says a proposal to purchase MH-60R anti-submarine warfare helicopters from the United States will likely be cancelled due to cost concerns.The Navy was originally set to allocate NT$34 billion to buy 12 of the helicopters.
Speaking at a legislative hearing, Chiu confirmed the government is close to dropping the purchase plan.However, denied reports that that decision was made because of US pressure and insisted that the price tag for the procurement was "too high and beyond our capability."
The statement comes after reports claimed in February that the US State Department had rejected the proposal to purchase the anti-submarine warfare helicopters because it "failed to conform to the principle of asymmetric combat power."