‘The sale will contribute to the recipient’s capability to provide for the defense of its airspace, regional security, and interoperability’ with the U.S.
The United States on Wednesday approved the potential sale of $619 million in new arms to Taiwan as the island continues to warn of mounting Chinese military pressure.
As Taipei reported a second day of large-scale Chinese air force incursions nearby, the Pentagon said the U.S. State Department approved the potential sale of weapons and equipment – including missiles for its F-16 fleet as well as anti-aircraft missiles.
The arms sales would likely further sour already tense ties between Washington and Beijing. China has repeatedly demanded such deals stop, viewing them as unwarranted support for democratically governed Taiwan, an island Beijing claims as its own territory.
“The proposed sale will contribute to the recipient’s capability to provide for the defense of its airspace, regional security, and interoperability with the United States,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the missiles would help “effectively defend the airspace to deal with threats and provocations from the Communist (Chinese) military,” Reuters reported.
Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin are the principal contractors, it added. China has sanctioned both companies for selling weapons to Taiwan.
Taiwan has complained for the past three years or so of stepped-up Chinese military activities near the island, as Beijing seeks to assert its sovereignty claims. On Thursday, Taiwan reported more Chinese air force incursions into its air defense identification zone.
China has said its activities in the area are justified as it seeks to defend its territorial integrity and warn the U.S. against “colluding” with Taiwan. Taiwan’s government has repeatedly offered talks with China but says the island will defend itself if attacked, and that only the Taiwanese people can decide their own future.