The Real Reasons for Taiwan’s Arms Backlog — and How to Help Fill It

Taiwan Stinger Firing

In a recent letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Sen. Josh Hawley argued that the Biden administration’s military aid to Ukraine has compromised more important efforts to strengthen Taiwan’s defenses. As evidence, he pointed to Taiwan’s nearly $19 billion weapons backlog. Hawley is not the first to link military support to Ukraine and Taiwan’s delayed arms deliveries. A November 2022 Wall Street Journal article argued that weapons transfers to Ukraine were “aggravating” Taiwan’s weapons shortfall. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission similarly blamed the “diversion of existing stocks of weapons and munitions” to Ukraine for delays in delivery of promised systems to Taiwan. 

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