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Biden approves military aid to Taiwan under program normally used for sovereign states

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President Joe Biden’s administration has approved a military transfer to Taiwan under the Foreign Military Financing, or FMF, program normally used for sovereign states, according to a notification sent to Congress.

The notification, which was viewed by Reuters on Wednesday, informs congressional committees of the State Department’s intention to commit up to $80 million in FMF funds to support Taiwan.

“The FMF will be used to enhance Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities through joint and combined defense capability and enhanced maritime domain awareness and maritime security capability,” the notification said.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry expressed thanks, but said it had no comment on the details of the aid, stressing that the United States had already helped build the island’s combat capabilities. within the framework of the policies and laws in force.

Taiwan’s notification was first reported by the Associated Press.

Rep. Michael McCaul, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was happy the administration was “finally” providing FMF to Taiwan.

“These weapons will not only help Taiwan and protect other democracies in the region, but will also strengthen America’s deterrence posture and guarantee our national security in the face of an increasingly aggressive CCP (Chinese Communist Party),” McCaul said in a statement. a statement.

FMF, the largest military assistance account managed by the State Department, primarily provides grant assistance to foreign governments for the purchase of U.S. defense and military training equipment under the Sales Program. soldiers abroad.

A State Department official confirmed the notification to Congress and said the decision to provide Taiwan with FMF aid did not reflect any change in US policy.

Beijing claims the democratically governed island as its own territory and warns against any form of “official exchanges” between Washington and Taipei. Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims and says only the Taiwanese people can decide their future.

China has repeatedly complained to the United States about military aid and sales to the island. Its Department of Defense said the US military must end all forms of “military collusion” with the island.

The United States, Taiwan’s largest arms supplier, last month announced an arms assistance package to Taiwan worth up to $345 million.

Last week, the United States also approved a possible $500 million sale to Taiwan of infrared search and tracking systems for F-16 fighter jets and other equipment.

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