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US announces $345 million arms package for Taiwan

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The package marks the first time the United States has used new congressional authority to transfer military hardware directly from Pentagon inventory to Taiwan. The transfer is being made under the Presidential Drawdown Authority, the same mechanism Washington uses to send weapons to Ukraine.

The United States has not released the contents of the package due to sensitivities with China. But a former DOD official familiar with the talks — who, like others interviewed for this story, was granted anonymity to speak on a sensitive topic — said it would include MQ-9 drones. Reaper and small arms ammunition. Taiwan has already bought Harvesters from the United States, as well as advanced missiles, fighter jets and other expensive weapons.

Although the United States has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Washington has long supported Taipei’s self-defense capability with arms sales and a close military relationship. The island’s status has increasingly been a flashpoint in US-China relations in recent years, as Beijing seeks to reunite Taiwan with the mainland – with or without force.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers in May that a presidential withdrawal plan was in the works for Taiwan, but it took weeks of additional work before aid could be officially announced. Among other challenges, the DOD had to resolve an “accounting error” that required officials finalizing packages for Ukraine and Taiwan to recalculate the value of the equipment being sent.

The error occurred when officials counted the value of replacing the weapons instead of the value of the weapons when they were purchased, Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh explained during a briefing. As a result, aid to Ukraine was overstated by $6.2 billion.

Similarly, the package for Taiwan, originally valued at $500 million, has an actual value of more than $300 million, according to one of the US officials.

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Cnn

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