President Biden has decided to reroute a chunk of Egypt's aid, totaling $85 million, towards Taiwan, due to Egypt's insufficient progress on human rights — a significant policy shift from supporting the Middle East to Taiwan.
While this amount is just a fraction of the $1.3 billion yearly aid Egypt receives from the U.S., the decision signals widening rifts between the two nations on various issues.
As per a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration plans to allocate $55 million of this to Taiwan, facing escalating military tensions with China, and the remaining $30 million to Lebanon, grappling with the aftereffects of the massive 2020 Beirut blast.
Coinciding with these financial shifts is Taiwan's move to buy 400 Harpoon anti-ship missiles from the U.S., turning the tables in Taiwan's favor against potential Chinese aggression.
Rupert Hammond-Chambers, the head of the US-Taiwan Business Council, emphasized this as Taiwan's inaugural purchase of land-launched missile versions, per Bloomberg.
Rep. Mike Gallagher, an influential voice on China in the House, earlier emphasized the need for equipping Taiwan with potent weaponry, especially Harpoon missiles, prioritizing it over other allies. He also suggested licensing specific weapon systems, allowing Taiwan to manufacture them locally. Urging immediate action, Gallagher highlighted the crucial role the Defense Secretary must play in streamlining this process.
“I remain convinced that there’s more we can do to move Taiwan to the front of the line, ahead of Saudi Arabia, for example, when it comes to Harpoon deliveries, as well as take the Harpoon missiles that we’re putting into deep storage, that we’re de-milling, and change around a few aspects of them so that we can deliver them to Taiwan,” he said.
“We could also explore licensing certain weapons systems so the Taiwanese could produce them domestically. But, at the end of the day, it just comes down to energy and focus and prioritization from the executive branch. We need the secretary of defense himself to get involved, to make this a daily priority for the backlog to get cleared.”