The Pentagon announced Friday that the US State Department had approved the possibility of selling military technological support to Taiwan for approximately $108 million. China considers Taiwan an integral part of its territory or has never disputed the use of armed power in its efforts to subjugate Taiwan to Chinese rule.

Taiwan, administered democratically, has recently aired apprehensions about escalating “military pressure” from Beijing, which is intended to coerce Taiwan into recognizing Chinese sovereignty.

There are no formal diplomatic relations between the US and Taipei. Despite this, the legislation of the US mandates that Washington furnish Taiwan with the necessary tools to defend itself, and the government of President Joe Biden has committed to increasing cooperation with the territory.

According to the Pentagon, Taiwan sought the most recent support, which included replacement and maintenance parts for tanks and combat vehicles, as well as technological and material aid from the US government and contractors.

US Aid

Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States from VOA. (Source: Voice of America, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

The US’s Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) has requested to procure Blanket Order Contractor Technical Assistance support. This financial backing will also include unredacted backup and repair parts and assembly for tanks and combat vehicles; logistical and technical assistance; technical and logistical support from the US Government and contractor representatives; and other logistical and program support elements related to the initiative. The overall expense is anticipated to be $108 million based on the news release by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency of the US Department of Defense.

This potential sale, as per the agency, advances the “national, economic, and security interests” of the US by offering aid to the beneficiary nation in their ongoing efforts to improve their armed forces and to keep up a legitimate and robust defensive military capability that withstands the conflict they are about to face in the future. The new agreement will add to Taiwan’s enhanced safety while aiding and abetting the country’s sustained political and military equilibrium and economic and technological development.

“The proposed sale will contribute to the sustainment of the recipient’s vehicles, small arms, combat weapon systems, and logistical support items, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats.”

Taiwan’s Presidential Office spokesperson Xavier Chang mentioned that the government would continue to express its willpower to maintain Taiwan and defend the country’s democratic livelihood by expanding the country’s military strength.

He said that Taiwan is dedicated to collaborating with allies worldwide to add value to “peace and stability” in the Indo-Pacific region and the world as a whole.

Taiwan has been encouraged by consecutive US administrations to retool its army to be a “porcupine,” which would lead Taiwan to be tagged as an aim difficult for China to target. These administrations have advocated for selling cheap, portable, and survivable weapon systems, also known as “asymmetric” weapons, that could outlast any attempted attack by China’s more extensive armed power. Specific business organizations in the US have criticized the Taiwan arms sales framework implemented by the Biden administration because it is “too restrictive.” It does not adequately address the concerns postured by the force of China.

China-Taiwan Conflict

Military parade of The Honor Guard of the Republic of China on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China. (Source:中文(简体):美国之音 丁力, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Since 1949, Taiwan has functioned under its authority apart from China; yet, Beijing considers the island part of its territory. Beijing has sworn to “unify” Taiwan with the mainland at a certain point in the future, and they seek to do so via force if needed. As a result, the level of tension is ratcheting up. China’s new tactics to subvert the democratic process in Taiwan have been denounced by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, whose policy platform upholds the island’s autonomy. The level of political and military constraints imposed by Beijing on Taiwan has soared as it asserts dominance over the territory.

Taiwan has revealed that its government agencies are targeted daily by thousands of cyber intrusions. These cyberattacks emanate from China. In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the frequency of these attacks. For example, in 2020, Taipei alleged four Chinese groups of hacking roughly ten Taiwanese government agencies and six thousand official email accounts beginning in 2018. These intrusions aimed to gain access to confidential information and data belonging to the state.

Recorded Future has revealed that it has discovered that Chinese organizations have been pursuing firms throughout Taiwan’s semiconductor industry to get chip designs, source codes, and software development kits. It based its allegations on documentation it acquired by employing a technique referred to as network traffic analysis, which involves analyzing such traffic to identify potential dangers to network security.