U.S. may supply Taiwan with excess Defence Articles (EDA) in defiance of strong opposite from China

Su Tzu-yun

27th May 2023 – (Taipei) Institute for National Defence and Security Research Director Su Tzu-yun has said that the U.S. could supply Taiwan with Excess Defence Articles (EDA). The EDA program involves surplus weapons and equipment being transferred to allied nations in need of them. The transfers are carried out in line with the Foreign Assistance Act and the Arms Export Control Act.

Director Su explained that military aid is a gift, whereas a stockpile consists of equipment owned by the U.S. military stored in Taiwan. A contingency stockpile would indicate a significant increase in the possibility of US military cooperation in defending Taiwan.

On 24th May, a batch of U.S.-made Stinger missiles and related equipment arrived in Taiwan. The shipment, valued at US$500 million, was made possible by the use of the Presidential Drawdown Authority. This tool allows weapons deliveries to be expedited to foreign countries and international organisations in response to unforeseen emergencies, according to the U.S. State Department.

Director Su said that Taiwan has approximately 1,800 Stinger missiles, including ground-to-air, air-to-air, and dual-mounted systems. They provide low-altitude air defence, are suitable for individual operations, and are highly mobile. The missiles can be deployed in key strategic areas such as airports, radar stations, or near critical facilities to prevent low-altitude aircraft attacks by enemy forces. They can also be deployed in the vicinity of drop zones and in Hualien to prevent enemy helicopter assaults and further strengthen Taiwan’s counter-assault capabilities.

There has been a large push in the U.S. Congress to provide Taiwan with the weapons it needs to defend itself against a potential Chinese invasion. There are growing concerns that an attack could happen in 2027, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.

However, China has firmly opposed the U.S.’s latest delivery of missiles to Taiwan and has lodged serious representations with the U.S. side over “this utterly wrong and dangerous move,” according to Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning. Mao said that Washington’s supply of arms to Taiwan seriously violates the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiques, especially the 17th August Communique of 1982.

She added that the move interferes in China’s internal affairs, undermines its sovereignty and security interests, and harms peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Mao urged Washington to stop arming Taiwan with weapons, stop military contact with Taiwan, stop creating factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait, and stop encouraging and supporting ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces to seek ‘independence’ with military force.

Despite China’s opposition, the U.S.has authorised up to US$1 billion worth of weapons aid for Taiwan using the drawdown, a fast-track authority that has been exercised more than 35 times to send arms to Ukraine.

The U.S.’ intent to use Taiwan to contain China has become increasingly obvious, from a former senior White House official’s public statement on destroying Taiwan’s semiconductor factories, including the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, to a Republican presidential candidate’s call for guns in every Taiwanese household. These actions have heightened tensions and raised concerns about the potential for conflict in the region.