A NAVY miniature is seen in front of displayed Chinese and Taiwanese flags in this illustration taken April 11, 2023. — REUTERS

TAIPEI — A senior US lawmaker visiting Taipei said on Monday that weapons Taiwan had ordered are finally on their way, and that China’s “intimidating” war games last week underscored the need to boost the island’s deterrence abilities.

China claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control. Taiwan’s government rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims.

Taiwan has for the last two years complained of delays to deliveries of US weapons, such as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, as manufacturers supply Ukraine to support its defence against Russia.

Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who promised those weapons would be delivered when he visited Taiwan last year, said the Chinese military’s “armada” last week had sent a very strong message to the United States.

“We are moving forward on those weapons systems. I’d like to see it faster, but they are forthcoming,” Mr. McCaul told reporters after meeting Taiwan President Lai Ching-te.

Taiwan needs to have sufficient weapons to show Chinese President Xi Jinping that the risk outweighs the rewards of invading the island, he added.

“President Lai and I, as always, had a very sobering and yet very direct conversation about the threat that this island faces from its neighbor to the north, and it’s a real one,” McCaul said. “Without deterrence, Chairman Xi has bold and aggressive ambitions.”

China last year placed sanctions on McCaul after his visit to Taiwan and meeting with then-President Tsai Ing-wen. — Reuters