Accession Number:



Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990

Descriptive Note:

Congressional research rept.

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This report, updated as warranted, discusses U.S. security assistance to Taiwan, or Republic of China ROC, including policy issues for Congress and legislation. Congress has oversight of the Taiwan Relations Act TRA, P.L. 96-8, which has governed arms sales to Taiwan since 1979, when the United States recognized the Peoples Republic of China PRC instead of the ROC. Two other relevant parts of the one China policy are the August 17, 1982, U.S.-PRC Joint Communique and the Six Assurances to Taiwan. U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have been significant. The United States also has expanded military ties with Taiwan after the PRCs missile firings in 1995-1996. However, there is no defense treaty with Taiwan. At the U.S.-Taiwan arms sales talks on April 24, 2001, President George W. Bush approved for possible sale diesel-electric submarines, P-3 anti-submarine warfare ASW aircraft linked to the submarine sale, four decommissioned U.S. Kidd-class destroyers, and other items. Bush also deferred decisions on Aegis-equipped destroyers and other items, while denying other requests. Afterward, attention turned to Taiwan, where the military, civilian officials, and legislators from competing political parties debated contentious issues about how much to spend on defense and which U.S. weapons systems to acquire, despite the increasing threat including a missile buildup from the Peoples Liberation Army PLA, as described in the Pentagons reports to Congress on PRC military power. In February 2003, the Administration pointed Taiwan to three priorities for defense command and control, missile defense, and ASW. Some in the United States questioned Taiwans seriousness about its self-defense, level of defense spending, and protection of secrets. The Pentagon broadened its focus from Taiwans arms purchases to its regular defense budget, readiness for self-defense, and critical infrastructure protection.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

Distribution Statement: