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WorldAsiaWithout Congressional Approval, 'Urgent' US Decision Triggers Arms Race

Without Congressional Approval, ‘Urgent’ US Decision Triggers Arms Race


US President Joe Biden intends to activate a legislative tool he has used to support Ukraine, allowing it to smuggle arms shipments to Taiwan without returning to Congress.

What is the Presidential Sweep Power Tool?

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently told Congress that his country would provide more weapons to Taiwan through the Presidential Withdrawal Authority (PDA), a tool that allowed the Biden administration to send weapons to Ukraine bypassing Congress, according to Reuters. This tool is used by Washington in case of unexpected crises and emergencies. This allows it to quickly provide military assistance and sales to third parties. Last year, the US administration used it to send arms and cash worth $11 billion to Ukraine in the latter’s war with Russia. Since August, Washington has used the tool 37 times to deliver military aid to Ukraine, which is sent as soon as the president signs arms deals, and it has helped Kiev turn things in its favor on the spot of battle.

Why use it with Taiwan now?

According to a report by the newspaper “Asia Times”, Washington resorted to this after Congress obstructed the delivery of 66 F-16V fighters in a short time and postponed the delivery of the first batch of planes until the third quarter. of 2024.

The deal sent under this legislation will also likely include defensive weapons, such as shoulder-fired missiles, which are anti-tank weapons used in air defense operations.

China and the “impasse”

The Chinese Ministry of Defense has been quick to warn Washington against this measure of support for Taiwan against it, according to what was said in a press release by the ministry’s spokesperson, published by the Chinese agency ” Xinhua”:

China has expressed diplomatic dissatisfaction with the United States at this step. Continued US support for Taiwan has “shaken the foundations of China-US relations”, and Washington is “trying to undermine the peace”. The Democratic Progressive Party (the ruling party in Taiwan) and the Taiwanese “separatists” will be deadlocked if they attempt to use support, including arms, from the United States to promote Taiwanese independence. The Taiwan issue is a “red danger”, and the Chinese military will continue military exercises and preparations to “resolutely crush any form of Taiwan independence”.

And Taiwan, a self-governing China, considers it part of its territory and accuses Washington of supporting “separatists” who seek to separate completely from China.

arms race

China affairs expert Mazen Hassan describes the US move in his commentary to Sky News Arabia as “a clear and explicit provocation against China, and violates the one-China principle, which America always says it stands for. “.

Hassan attributes this to the fact that this law helped Ukraine a lot in confronting the Russian military, “because the weapons were arriving in Ukraine within hours of Biden’s approval, and it was not the case before.”

And about the reflection of this development in the coming period, Hassan believes that “there could be an arms race in the South China Sea region to a large extent, because the American plan is to arm Taiwan with weapons that were to be delivered within two years or more in a few months.”

Jasser Matar, an international affairs expert, agrees with his colleague on this point, telling Sky News Arabia: “Washington, with this decision, will put the region on a hot plate, trigger arms races and could expand beyond a conflict on the island of Taiwan.”

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