Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a new bill that seeks to commit the United States to help Taiwan strengthen its military capacity to defend itself against an imminent invasion by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The bill, called Arm Taiwan 2021, calls for $3 billion annually to invest in Taiwan’s military training and equipment, with the goal of reversing the asymmetrical situation between Taiwan and the CCP on defense issues.
In a press release, Hawley pointed to rising tensions in the region and continued Chinese military provocations near Taiwan. “Taiwan is in grave danger, but the future is not yet written,” he said.
The bill, if enacted, would strengthen Taiwan’s defenses against a CCP invasion by allocating $3 billion annually for a new Taiwan Security Assistance Initiative, increasing the deployment of defense capabilities on the island, the senator said.
In the statement Hawley urged the United States to “do everything in its power to help Taiwan urgently strengthen its defenses.” He said Beijing will not stop until it expands its hegemony to the Indo-Pacific and beyond, adding, “We must not let them succeed.”
The U.S. Secretary of Defense would provide and administer the appropriated funds, beginning in fiscal year 2023 and continuing through to at least 2027.
Hawley cited as evidence of the imminent danger to Taiwan various warnings from U.S. and Taiwanese officials that “China could attempt to invade Taiwan in the next few years.”
Even CCP officials have asserted that the autonomous island of Taiwan is a province of China, even though it is democratically governed and has its own constitution, army and ruling party.
Party leader Xi Jinping in early October vowed to achieve the “reunification of the nation,” calling the island’s independence a “grave hidden danger to national rejuvenation.”
The bill requires the Pentagon to certify each year that Taiwan is doing its part by “matching U.S. investments in its asymmetric defenses, increasing defense spending, acquiring asymmetric defense capabilities as quickly as possible regardless of source, and implementing defense reforms.”
The bill also requires that future U.S. arms sales or shipments to Taiwan be authorized only if it has made visible progress on its military defense system.
Senator Hawley’s commitment to Taiwan is not new; in fact, this is not the first time he has introduced such a bill. Rather, the current bill is the result of modifications made to a bill introduced in June 2021, which failed, that sought to guarantee U.S. intervention in the face of an armed conflict between Taiwan and the CCP.
At the time Hawley wrote: “The Chinese Communist Party wants control of the Indo-Pacific region, starting with Taiwan. We cannot allow Beijing to succeed, not just for the sake of our Asian allies and partners, but for the sake of all Americans whose lives and livelihoods depend on a free and open Indo-Pacific.”