Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) issued a statement this week regarding the Trump administration’s plan to send an $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.
It is the largest U.S. Sale to Taiwan in years, and it comes at a time when there is a high-tense trade war with China. In addition, the United States has criticized China’s role in cracking down on Hong Kong protestors.
In his statement, Senator Rubio praised the Trump administration for its decision, commenting that “as the Chinese government and Communist Party seeks to extend its authoritarian reach in the region, it is critical that the United States continue to enhance our strategic relationship with our democratic partner Taiwan through regular and consistent support. As well, Rubio noted that “this move is an important step in support of Taiwan’s self-defense efforts, and I urge the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee to quickly advance this critical arms sale.”
Evan Medeiros, the former White House senior director for Asia in the Obama administration, commented however that this could prove to be worrisome in the future. Medeiros explained that “Taiwan’s defense is intrinsically important to the United States, but the timing of this move, amid the trade war and major instability in Hong Kong, is exceptionally precarious.” Furthermore, it will make trade negotiations and managing the Hong Kong situation even harder than it already is.”
Still, Rubio maintains that this is a good move, noting back in April that the United States must keep its commitment to Taiwan as a result of the Taiwan Relations Act. And, the agreement with the Trump administration comes at a time when Rubio and President Trump have been at odds.
Recently, the Florida Senator voiced his disapproval at President Trump signaling for Israel to ban Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D) from entering the country, which was declared this week.