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China scoffs as US passes bill with billions of dollars in Taiwan aid

  • 9 Dec 2022

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2023 authorises President Biden to provide Taiwan with up to $1B per year in defence items from US stockpiles or other services such as military training.

The NDAA "will dramatically enhance the United States' defence partnership with Taiwan," Senator Bob Menendez says. ( Reuters Archive )

The US House of Representatives has passed a defence spending bill that includes up to $10B in military grant assistance for Taiwan and seeks to expedite arms sales to the self-ruled island, drawing a rebuke from Beijing.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2023 -- which still requires Senate passage and the signature of President Joe Biden to become law -- would authorise grant assistance for Taiwan of up to $2 billion per year from 2023 through 2027.

The act also authorises Biden to provide Taiwan with up to $1 billion per year in defence items from US stockpiles or other services such as military training.

And it requires the secretaries of State and Defence to "prioritise and expedite the processing of requests from Taiwan under the Foreign Military Sales programme."

READ MORE: US Senate panel okays $4.5B military aid to Taiwan amid China tensions

US defence partnership with Taiwan

The NDAA "will dramatically enhance the United States' defence partnership with Taiwan," Senator Bob Menendez, the Foreign Relations Committee chair, said in a statement ahead of the bill's passage on Thursday.

China retorted immediately, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ningby saying that Beijing was "firmly opposed to the US using the National Defense Authorization Act to pass negative content related to China."

Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory -- to be reunited one day by force, if necessary -- and has become more belligerent toward the island under President Xi Jinping.

It has responded with growing anger to visits by Western politicians and staged massive military drills to protest US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan in August, sending tensions to the highest level in years.

READ MORE: US, China and the Taiwan theatre: Will there be a winner?

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