With China vowing to retaliate, the US State Department has authorized a potential $1.1 billion sale of military hardware to Taiwan, including 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles. Following China’s aggressive military exercises near Taiwan and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s trip there last month—the highest-ranking US official to visit Taipei in years—the Pentagon unveiled the package on Friday.
According to AFP and BBC, Liu Pengyu, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, stated that the potential weaponry sale “severely jeopardizes” US-China relations.” China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation,” he stated, according to the reports. The administration of President Joe Biden stated that the package has been under consideration for some time and was created in conjunction with parliamentarians from Taiwan and the US.
According to the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the sale includes
- Sidewinder missiles, which can be used for air-to-air and surface-attack missions, for about $85.6 million
- Harpoon anti-ship missiles, which are estimated to cost $355 million
- support for Taiwan’s surveillance radar program is estimated to cost $665.4 million.
Laura Rosenberger, White House senior director for China and Taiwan, said, “As the PRC continues to increase pressure on Taiwan, including through heightened military air and maritime presence around Taiwan, and engages in attempts to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, we’re providing Taiwan with what it needs to maintain its self-defense capabilities.” Despite the heightened tensions that followed Pelosi’s visit, Reuters reported last month that the Biden administration was considering additional equipment for Taiwan, but that the equipment would sustain Taiwan’s present military systems and complete existing orders, not offer new capabilities.
The weaponry and assistance announced on Friday, according to the Pentagon, won’t change the overall military balance in the area. They did not represent a shift in policy toward Taiwan, according to US officials. Taiwan’s defense ministry thanked China and noted that its recent “provocative” actions posed a severe threat. It also stated that the weaponry transfer would assist them in resisting Chinese military pressure.
“It also demonstrates that it will help our country strengthen its the overall defense capabilities and jointly maintain the security and peace of the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region,” the ministry stated. The US-Taiwan Business Council’s president, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, stated that his organization was against what he called a “restricted approach” to arms sales to Taiwan.
“As PLA recently demonstrated in its blockade, the island faces a range of threats that require a range of capabilities. To deny the island the ability to mount a full defense will, over time, create new gaps in Taiwan’s defenses that the PLA can exploit,” Hammond-Chambers told.
The directive shows that the US is still standing by Taiwan in the face of pressure from China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory and has never ruled out using force to seize control of the island that is democratically run. Congress must review the purchases, but both Democratic and Republican congressional aides said no opposition is anticipated. Since Pelosi’s trip, at least two more congressional delegations from both parties, as well as governors of US states, have visited Taiwan, all of these trips were denounced by Beijing.
Boeing Co. is the main manufacturer of the Harpoon missiles. The Sidewinders and the radar programs’ main contractor is Raytheon. According to Taipei, the People’s Republic of China has no legal claim to the island because it was never a part of its territory.
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