At a moment the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Congressional leaders Tuesday that "significant international conflict between great powers" is now "increasing, not decreasing" - the US has announced approval of the sale of up to $95 million in new training and equipment for Taiwan.
Crucially and quite provocatively from Beijing's perspective, this new sale is focused on supporting Taiwan's Patriot missile defense system, seen as key to defending the island in the event of an invasion.
The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency confirmed in a statement, "The proposed sale will help to sustain (Taiwan's) missile density and ensure readiness for air operations."
The statement called the items important as a "deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen homeland defense," and outlined it will include training, planning, fielding, deployment, operation, maintenance, and sustainment of the Patriot system, associated equipment, and logistics support elements, as well as ground support equipment and spare parts, according to the DSCA statement.
Taiwan's foreign ministry thanked the Biden administration and welcomed the deal, which marks the third such approved arms package of the Biden administration. Taipei emphasized it's needed to defend against China's "continuing military expansion and provocation."
"In the face of China's continuing military expansion and provocation, Taiwan must fully demonstrate its strong determination to defend itself," the foreign ministry said. "Our government will continue to strengthen our self-defense and asymmetric combat capabilities."
Meanwhile, one top US Navy commander says China is watching the Russia-Ukraine war closely, with an eye on Taiwan:
As the Russia-Ukraine war continues, a senior US commander stated that Washington must remain vigilant on the Taiwan issue as China is increasing its capabilities and making adjustments to its plans to forcefully unite the island nation.
U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Samuel J Paparo said, "China is undoubtedly watching what’s happened in Ukraine, taking notes, and learning from it."
“And there will be learning and there will be adjustments to the extent that they’re able to learn from it. And they will improve their capabilities based on what they learn at this time," he told a gathering of Washington-based journalists from Indo-Pacific countries.