TAIPEI ($1=30.98 Taiwan New Dollars) — Two major wars are going on in the world right now. The Russia-Ukraine war is defacto real hostilities in Europe. The other is the US-Taiwan-China proxy war. The proxy war, however, according to international analysts, is acquiring increasingly greater threat values. The reality of China attacking Taiwan is greater today than it was yesterday. This is the consensus among dozens of military analysts and political experts.
- Taiwan expects M1A2T tanks – more capable than K2, Type 10, Type 99
- In Asia: Xi Jinping orders the army to prepare for military action
- Taiwan’s M109A6 howitzers are late, the US is offering HIMARS
A similar statement is beginning to be layered among some political groups in Washington. Some believe that the deterioration of the situation in Ukraine and the continued supply of weapons to Kyiv will significantly worsen the stockpile of weapons to be delivered to Taiwan.
Purchases for $18 billions
Here are the official figures. In December 2021, weapons worth nearly $14 billion were to be delivered to Taiwan. The key word is “should have been”, but deliveries are lagging. Today, before the beginning of December, this figure is already over 18 billion USD.
Of course, Taiwanese orders are far larger and far more modern than those supplied to Ukraine. This is precisely why some lobbyists in Washington claim that supplies to Taiwan do not affect supplies to Ukraine. However, at the same time, some of the weapons ordered from Taiwan include the already-known HIMRS MLRS, which they did not receive. Ukraine received, however.
The same is the case with Taiwan’s order of 208 Javelin anti-tank weapons and 215 Stinger surface-to-air missiles. This order has been noticed since 2015 and has not been fulfilled. A quick check shows that Ukraine received over 8,500 Javelin anti-tank systems and over 1,600 Stinger anti-aircraft systems in a few months.
It turns out that a similar fate follows some towed howitzers ordered from Taiwan but sent to Ukraine. US arms production has apparently focused on Ukraine. Taiwan this year placed another order, this time for Harpoon anti-ship missiles. It turns out that because of the busy production for Ukraine, Taiwan will receive the missiles sometime in 2026.
The supplies must follow the plan
Taiwan is no longer silent. General Wang Shin-lung, Vice Minister of Armaments at Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense made a strong statement last month [October] when he said that the US must fulfill its arms delivery commitments. And supplies, the general added, must follow the plan that has been laid out.
It is not only Taiwan that “notices” the biased attitude of the US. The US Economic and Security Review Commission and China have officially announced that Taiwan has delayed supplies. It is about MANPADS Stinger and self-propelled artillery M109A6 Paladin. And this data is on an annual basis, not quarterly.
“The diversion of existing arms and ammunition stockpiles to Ukraine and pandemic-related supply chain issues have exacerbated a significant backlog in the delivery of weapons already approved for sale to Taiwan, undermining the island’s readiness,” the committee said in its report to Congress. of the US this month.
Deliveries to Ukraine from stocks
However, the problem is not the quantities of weapons delivered to Ukraine. The Pentagon, as well as other institutions in the United States, claim that what they are sending to Ukraine is from the stockpiles of military equipment from the United States Army. Most likely, this is the case, but the problem is time – will not the committed production “for Ukraine” delay supplies to Taiwan, and this will have an impact in a “stretched forward in time” attack by China against the island state? This is a significant problem that will have an effect in the future – if Ukraine loses the war to Russia, the US will be able to rearm Ukraine after the lost war. However, which country will the US arm if China attacks Taiwan and the former annexes the latter?
Many senior military officials argue that Taiwan’s production is radically different from Ukraine’s. but the delivery delay is a fact, isn’t it? According to some in the administration of US President Mr. Joe Biden, the reason for the ban on Taiwanese supplies is the two-year pandemic conditions due to COVID-19.
But not everything is so black and white. Things are not that simple. For example, the chief acquisition officer of the US military, Mr. Doug Bush, said that Ukraine is not the reason for the delay in arms to Taiwan, but every other war in which the US is involved affects the prioritization of supplies in the short term.
BulgarianMilitary.com has been writing about this problem for several months now. And he is: the war in Ukraine is eating up American stocks. They are currently close to the allowable critical level. This means that even if weapons production were to increase, suddenly Ukraine and Taiwan would be on the back burner until the US military’s stockpiles were replenished to the required level.
Military companies in the US have announced that they will increase their production. This is of course good news for them, but both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin representatives have announced that this production ramp-up could take years.
To visualize exactly what “years” means, here’s an example: James Tycklet, CEO of Lockheed Martin, which makes the Javelin and HIMARS, said on October 18 that the company would increase HIMARS production to 96 units a year from 60, but would it took years to reach that number.
However, Taiwan is placed in a delicate position. The authorities in Taipei fully understand the American problems, but they do not care. Taipei has ordered weapons, but they are not coming. And since the problem is clearly not the funding of this weapon, then any other justification just sounds ridiculous.
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