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Report: US Defence Industry delegation planning Taiwan visit

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A delegation of around 25 US defense contractors plans to visit Taiwan in early May to discuss the joint production of drones and ammunition, Nikkei reported.

Led by US Marine Corps Forces Pacific retired commander Steven Rudder, it would be the first US defense industry delegation to visit Taiwan since 2019, the outlet added.

In addition to meeting Taiwanese defense industry representatives, the delegation plans to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

“From a very high-level perspective, we think that co-production arrangements make sense, but we need to take a look at them on a case-by-case basis, and it has to be at the request of US industry,” the outlet quoted a senior Biden administration official as saying.

Tawan Faces Arms Supply Delay

The development comes as Taiwan faces a delay in US arms supply of $19 billion, including Javelin anti-tank weapons, Stinger surface-to-air missiles, and M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers.

The Ukraine war has exacerbated the situation as the US defense industry prioritizes its commitment to the beleaguered nation.

“The US defense industrial base is not adequately prepared for the competitive security environment that now exists,” according to a report by Seth Jones of the Center for Strategic and International Studies quoted by Nikkei.

“In a major regional conflict — such as a war with China in the Taiwan Strait — the US use of munitions would likely exceed the current stockpiles of the US Department of Defense,” Jones wrote, proposing co-production with overseas partners as a potential solution.

US Reaches Out to European Partners

Meanwhile, the US administration has urged some European countries to help arm Taiwan, the outlet reported, citing a source.

“It is a widespread opinion of the Biden administration that Taiwan should be able to procure from a variety of different sources,” a Biden administration official said.

“We understand areas where it might make sense for some of our allies and partners who manufacture certain capabilities, for those capabilities to be made available to Taiwan,” the official said.

“In those cases, we definitely are reaching out to those partners.”

Sweden Blocked Excalibur Supply

One of the countries the US has reached out to could be Sweden, the outlet reported.

According to Nikkei, the Trump administration could not supply Excalibur guided artillery shells to Taiwan because Sweden refused the transaction, fearing backlash from Beijing.

US-based Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Swedish BAE Systems Bofors co-developed the shell, which could enhance Taiwan’s precision strike capabilities.

To export arms developed with a foreign partner to a third country, a US company requires permission from that co-developer’s government, according to the outlet.

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