Report to Congress on Taiwan Defense Issues

April 23, 2024 8:49 AM

The following is the April 19, 2024, Congressional Research Service report, Taiwan Defense Issues for Congress

From the report

U.S. policy toward Taiwan has long prioritized the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims Taiwan as its territory and has not renounced the use of force to annex it. The United States supports Taiwan’s efforts to deter the PRC from using force to gain control of the archipelago. The U.S. government has also sought to strengthen its own ability to deter PRC military aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.

In the 117th and 118th Congresses, Congress and the President enacted several laws aimed at strengthening U.S.-Taiwan defense ties, particularly through arms transfers. Pending legislation includes the House-introduced Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 8(H.R. 8036) and the Senate-passed National Security Act, 2024 (H.R. 815). Both bills would

  • appropriate $1.9 billion for the replacement of Department of Defense (DOD) stocks transferred to Taiwan via Presidential Drawdown Authority and for reimbursement of DOD defense services and military education and training provided to Taiwan or to countries that “provided support to Taiwan at the request of the United States”; and
  • appropriate an additional $2 billion for foreign military financing (FMF) for the Indo-
  • Pacific “under the authorities and conditions applicable to such appropriations accounts for fiscal year 2024.” A summary of H.R. 8036 from House Appropriations Committee majority states that the bill’s FMF Program would be for “Taiwan and other key allies and security partners in the Indo-Pacific confronting Chinese aggression.”

Both bills would also amend Section 2606 of P.L. 117-103 to extend FMF direct loans and loan guarantees in that law from “Ukraine and NATO allies” to “NATO allies, major non-NATO allies, and the Indo-Pacific region” and increase the loan principal for FMF direct loans from $4 billion to $8 billion and the loan principal for FMF loan guarantees from $4 billion to $8 billion.

A key consideration for U.S. policymakers is whether and if so how to support Taiwan’s ability to defend itself in a possible cross-Strait conflict without triggering such a conflict.

Taiwan is about to undergo a political transition. President Tsai Ing-wen, in office since 2016, is to step down due to term limits. In January 2024, Taiwan voters elected her Vice President, Lai Ching-te (William Lai), to succeed her. He and Vice President-elect Bi-khim Hsiao, a former unofficial Taiwan representative to the United States, are to be sworn in for four-year terms on May 20, 2024.

Download the document here.

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