Israel conflict not to affect US-Taiwan arms sales: AIT chairperson


‘Support for Taiwan is the top priority of the Biden administration,’ said Rosenberger.

Israel conflict not to affect US-Taiwan arms sales: AIT chairperson

AIT Chair Laura Rosenberger is speaking to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Oct. 16, 2023.

The ongoing Israel-Hamas war will not affect arms sales between the United States and Taiwan, said the chairperson of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), as quoted by the Central News Agency, which stressed that Washington will continue to support the island’s commitment to self-defense capabilities.

“Focusing on U.S. support for Taiwan can be said to be the top priority of the Biden administration,” said Laura Rosenberger at a roundtable discussion with the media on Oct. 19. “The Biden administration will continue to work hard to deepen and expand the U.S.-Taiwan partnership, which at the same time is the U.S. Congress’s top priority with bipartisan support.”

Rosenberger’s visit, her third to the island since she took office in March, is a show of support to Taiwan ahead of January’s presidential elections which pundits have touted as a choice between war or peace with China. AIT is the de facto US Embassy in Taiwan. The U.S. does not support Taiwan independence and follows a one China policy guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, with a commitment to maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait.

Asked about the impact of the recent Israel-Hamas war on U.S.-Taiwan arms sales, Rosenberg said she would like to reiterate that U.S. support for Taiwan is rock-solid based on fundamental principles and cross-party consensus. 

“The U.S. will stand with our friends, and will continue to do so,” she said. 

Rosenberg pointed out that the U.S.-Taiwan partnership and the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait are enduring and long-term interests of the U.S. that will not be affected by events elsewhere in the world. 

The U.S. will continue to support Taiwan’s commitment to self-defense capabilities, including the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the goods and services needed to defend itself, she added.

While Taiwan faces Beijing’s  pressure and coercion in the Taiwan Strait, incredible opportunities to expand the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan have also emerged, Rosenberg said.

“So it’s critical that the U.S. puts Taiwan high on its list of priorities.” 

Rosenberg met with President Tsai Ing-wen, as well as people from civil societies, business and academic sectors in the five days since she arrived on Oct. 15. In all her activities, she reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Taiwan’s security, and that “the U.S. will stand with its friends and continue to do so.”

She highlighted the U.S. approval of a US$50 billion arms deal with Taiwan, President Joe Biden’s allocation of US$345 million in military aid to the island under the “Presidential Drawdown Authority,” and the U.S.’s military training and education efforts in Taiwan. At the same time, she said the U.S. believed that recent defense reforms in Taiwan have significantly strengthened its self-defense capacities.

Apart from that, the U.S. recently announced a “Foreign Military Financing” plan, which will allow Washington to provide more military aid to Taiwan, using an unprecedented new model to ensure that the U.S. continues to realize its unwavering support for Taiwan, she noted. 

Translated by RFA Staff. Edited by Elaine Chan and Mike Firn. 

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