The Biden administration announced a $345 million weapons package for Taiwan on July 28. The package includes a variety of weapons systems, including Reaper drones, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, and TOW anti-tank missiles.
This is the first part of a $1 billion weapons transfer directly from Pentagon stockpiles to Taiwan this year.
The transfer of weapons from the U.S. to Taiwan is a violation of Chinese sovereignty under international law, which recognizes Taiwan as an island province of China.
The United States does not officially recognize Taiwan as an independent country.
The MQ-9A Reaper is a long-endurance, medium-altitude, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is used for surveillance and strike missions. It is equipped with a variety of sensors, including a radar, a camera, and a laser designator. The Reaper can also carry a variety of weapons, including Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs.
The drones will be used to gather intelligence and could be used to strike population centers in mainland China, as Ukraine is doing with drone strikes on civilian apartment buildings in Moscow.
The transfer of the MQ-9A Reapers to Taiwan is a significant development, as it is the first time that the U.S. has sent this type of drone to a country in the Asia-Pacific region. It is clearly a significant increase in the U.S. military threat against China.
The package marks the first time the U.S. has used new authority from Congress to transfer military equipment directly from Pentagon inventory to Taiwan. The transfer is done under the Presidential Drawdown Authority, the same mechanism Washington uses to send weapons to Ukraine.
On July 21, the U.S. and Australia began two weeks of “Talisman Sabre war games” involving more than 30,000 troops and participants from 11 other countries, in a show of force against China, Reuters reported.
“This year will see Germany participate for the first time, with 210 paratroopers and marines taking part as the European nation bolsters its presence in the Indo-Pacific,” Reuters adds.
Activists from around Australia joined guests from the Pacific to speak out against the Talisman Sabre war training on July 30 outside the Enoggera Army Base, Green Left reported. The protest heard from guests who addressed the “Calling for Peace in the Pacific” conference, including Indigenous women Naek Flores from Guahan (Guam) and Shinako Oyakama from Ryukyu (Okinawa).