The US declined to comment directly Wednesday after reports emerged that it is considering co-production of American military arms with Taiwan, but acknowledged it is mulling multiple possibilities.
"The US is looking at all options on the table to ensure that the rapid transfer of defense capabilities to Taiwan can take place as swiftly as possible," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.
"Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, as you know, we have made available various services and defense articles for Taiwan's security, and the swift provision of these technologies and these services, we believe, are essential to Taiwan's security," he added.
Japanese news outlet Nikkei Asia first reported that the Biden administration is mulling co-production of US arms with Taiwan, citing an anonymous source with knowledge of the matter. The report said it "is likely" that American arms manufacturers would provide the technology needed to build the weapons in Taiwan, or produce them using parts made in Taiwan.
"This is going to take some time to really shake out," another source told the news outlet.
One consideration that has prevented past administrations from pursuing co-production with Taiwan is the possibility that classified information on the weapons could leak, Nikkei Asia reported.
The report comes on the heels of Secretary of State Antony Blinken warning Monday that China is no longer satisfied with the long-standing status quo vis-a-vis Taiwan and would pursue unification with the self-governing island "on a much faster timeline."
"If peaceful means didn’t work, then it would employ coercive means – and possibly, if coercive means don’t work, maybe forceful means – to achieve its objectives," he said. "And that is what is profoundly disrupting the status quo and creating tremendous tensions.”
China views Taiwan as a breakaway province though the island has ruled itself since 1949 and has established diplomatic relations with more than one dozen nations.