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Taiwan’s Lai says US military aid package will ‘deter authoritarianism’

Taiwan's Lai says US military aid package will 'deter authoritarianism'
Source: Video Screenshot

Taiwan’s incoming president Lai Ching-te said on Tuesday that a multi-billion US military aid package will “strengthen deterrence against authoritarianism”, as China ramps up political and military pressure on the self-ruled island.

Democratic Taiwan is claimed by China, which has said it would never renounce the use of force to bring the island under its control.

Taipei has in recent years bolstered its economic and political ties with top partner and weapons provider the United States, a move that China has warned Washington against doing.

The US House of Representatives passed four bills on Saturday in a massive defence package, specifically allocating $8 billion under one bill to counter China in the region.

Another $1.9 billion was earmarked for replenishing Taipei’s military equipment and training, while $2 billion will be used for “foreign military financing” for countries in the region as well as Taiwan.

Vice President Lai, who will take office on May 20, said during a meeting with a visiting US delegation that the bill demonstrates Washington’s “commitment to Taiwan security”.

“This bill will not only help strengthen deterrence against authoritarianism in the West Pacific democratic island chain, it will also enhance the confidence of countries in the Indo-Pacific region in the United States to safeguard free and democratic values,” he said.

The US delegation includes Republican Lisa McClain and Democrat Dan Kildee who are in Taiwan until Thursday to discuss regional security issues with Taipei leaders.

McClain told Lai that she and Kildee may be from different political parties but “we come here united with one goal and that is to continue to build and strengthen our relationship with your great country”.

Beijing, which regards Lai as a “dangerous separatist”, said before the January elections that he would cause “war and decline” for Taiwan.

It has ramped up military and political pressures against Taiwan in recent years, sending in warplanes and naval vessels near-daily around the island.

The announcement of the $95 billion defence package — which largely consists of approving military aid to Ukraine and bolstering Israel’s defences — came days before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits China.

High on the agenda for his trip, which begins Wednesday, will be to press Beijing to curb wartime support for Russia.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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