Some American lawmakers are questioning the US Navy over the “alarming” delays in weapons deliveries to ally Taiwan.
In a recent congressional committee hearing, US Representatives Mike Gallagher and Young Kim bluntly asked the service about why weapons production has languished for years after agreements were signed.
For example, they revealed that the US Navy only entered a contract to produce 400 ground-launched Harpoon missiles for Taipei in April – more than two years since the Pentagon approved and announced the foreign military sale.
The lawmakers also disclosed that the navy has yet to ask contractors to submit production bids for the 60 air-launched Harpoons and 135 Standoff Land Attack Missiles for the island nation despite signing a letter of acceptance in December 2022.
The production delays are also reportedly moving weapons delivery dates beyond 2027, the year China allegedly plans to invade Taiwan.
“At this hour of danger, when the US should be arming Taiwan to the maximum to strengthen its defenses and deter Chinese aggression, bureaucratic delays within the Navy are impeding the timely production and delivery of key weapons,” Gallagher and Kim stressed.
Washington is seen as Taiwan’s most important arms supplier amid growing tensions with China.
Yet, the island nation is on the receiving end of delayed American deliveries, including 40 M109A6 self-propelled howitzers in 2022 and 66 F-16 jets approved in 2019.
According to the two US lawmakers, the “inability to supply key weapons at such a consequential moment in our efforts to prevent war is deeply troubling.”
They are asking the US Navy to establish a clear timeline for Harpoon deliveries and provide an assessment for speeding up contracting and production.
A Distracted US?
According to a report by Bloomberg, the US may be distracted now over the ongoing conflicts involving its allies.
In addition to Taiwan, Washington is also supplying defense items to Ukraine for its war against Russia, and Israel for its armed conflict with Hamas.
A recent survey has also found that most Americans are more in favor of sending US military aid to Jerusalem than Taipei and Kyiv.
Because of that, the small island nation is being urged to start beefing up its own military capabilities with the production of indigenous weapons.