U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Nominee U.S. Should Continue Arms Sales to Taiwan

Taiwan Island Taiwan General Knowledge Network

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander nominee John Aquilino said Tuesday (March 23) that the United States should continue to maintain forward deployment and credible deterrence forces in the face of China’s increased military pressure on Taiwan, and continue arms sales to Taiwan to assist in the development of asymmetric systems to ensure Taiwan’s ability to defend itself.

The Central News Agency reported that John Aquilino, who currently serves as commander of the Pacific Fleet, provided a written response to a question from the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday about how the U.S. should assist Taiwan in facing the military threat from China. He said China continues to intensify its pressure on Taiwan through air and sea operations across the center line of the Strait.

Aquilino said the People’s Liberation Army continues to deploy a wide range of advanced weapons and systems to achieve a decisive victory over Taiwan. He acknowledged Taiwan’s continued strengthening of its reserve forces, its continued budgeting for foreign and domestic procurement, and its near-range training and readiness.

Aquilino said Taiwan should prioritize the procurement of highly mobile, dispersable and lethal asymmetric systems to ensure Taiwan’s ability to defend against attack.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command will continue to advise Taiwan on the development of military capabilities, operational interoperability, readiness and professional development through security cooperation and arms sales to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act.

Aquilino reaffirmed the United States’ longstanding commitment to assist Taiwan in maintaining adequate self-defense capabilities in accordance with the U.S.-China triple communiqué, the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances. In the future, he will consult with the Secretary of Defense to understand the risks and rewards of potential policy changes, ensure support for Taiwan, and contribute to the ultimate goal of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region.

Turning to U.S.-China relations, Aquilino said the United States and China have very different views of the future and that China expects to shape a world consistent with its authoritarian model and at odds with a rules-based international order. But he also said he will continue to seek a constructive, stable, results-oriented defense relationship with China that reduces the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculation.