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The top US lawmaker says he is doing everything possible to speed up arms deliveries to Taiwan

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TAIPEI (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – A senior US lawmaker said on Friday he was doing everything he could to speed up arms deliveries to Taiwan, suggesting that other countries that have the weapons could sell them on the island with the US government’s permission.

Since last year, Taiwan has complained about delays in deliveries of US weapons, such as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, as manufacturers turn over supplies to Ukraine to bolster its defense against Russia.

Speaking to reporters during a trip to Taiwan, Michael McCaul, chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Taiwan needed access to arms given the threat it faces from China, which reclaims the democratically ruled island as its territory.

“On the issue of arms, I sign those deliveries and we are doing everything in our power to speed this up,” he said, speaking in Taiwan’s parliament where he met with its spokesman, You Si-kun.

There is a need to “strengthen” Taiwan and help its deterrence capacity, he added.

McCaul said ideas for getting guns to Taiwan faster included reprioritizing gun sales given the island is in a high-risk area and “third-party sales” – convincing the state government United to allow other countries that have these weapons to supply them to Taiwan.

“We want to do everything possible to dissuade a very aggressive nation, Communist China, from thinking of landing on the shores of this beautiful island, because it would be a grave mistake for everyone.”

The United States is Taiwan’s most important arms supplier, a constant source of Chinese anger at Washington.

McCaul, a Republican, is joined by seven other lawmakers on a bipartisan trip taking place the same week Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles, whom Beijing has condemned .

While China staged war games around Taiwan in August after then-spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, her reaction this time was more subdued.

Speaking at the same news conference, You said he invited McCarthy last year to visit Taiwan before he became a speaker, and You said he thought it was just a timing issue as to when McCarthy visited.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control and has stepped up military and political pressure to try to force Taipei to accept Beijing’s sovereignty.

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failure to quickly capture Ukraine served as a lesson for Chinese leader Xi Jinping, likening Putin’s vision of Ukraine as a “delicious meal” that had turned into a fishbone stuck in the throat.

“So I think this is a warning to Xi Jinping as well,” You said.

McCaul’s group will meet with Tsai on Saturday, who returns to Taiwan on Friday evening.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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