The Biden administration is intensifying efforts to turn Taiwan into a “giant weapons depot” amid threats from China, The New York Times reports.
US officials are stockpiling weapons in Taiwan in response to recent military exercises by China near the island.
US officials believe the exercises showed that China could blockade the island ahead of a potential invasion and Taiwan would need to hold their own until the US or other nations intervene, officials told the Times.
But the effort is not without challenges as the US is prioritizing weapons shipments to Ukraine and weapons makers are reluctant to open new production lines without long-term orders, according to the report.
Biden on Taiwan:
The Biden administration has been working to determine the types of weapons they can provide, urging stockpiling of smaller, more mobile weapons.
The administration last month announced a $1.1 billion arms sale to Taiwan that includes antiship missiles.
Biden said the US is “not encouraging” Taiwan’s independence.
“That’s their decision,” he said last month.
“Stockpiling in Taiwan is a very active point of discussion. And if you have it, how do you harden it and how do you disperse it so Chinese missiles can’t destroy it?” Jacob Stokes, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told the Times.
“The view is we need to lengthen the amount of time Taiwan can hold out on its own,” he added. “That’s how you avoid China picking the low-hanging fruit of its ‘fait accompli’ strategy — that they’ve won the day before we’ve gotten there, that is assuming we intervene.”