Saturday September 03, 2022

US Approves $1.1 Billion in Arms For Taiwan

WASHINGTON: The United States has announced a new US$1.1 billion arms package for Taiwan, vowing to keep boosting the island s defences as tensions soar with Beijing, which warned Washington of “countermeasures”.

The latest US sale comes a month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defiantly visited the self-governing democracy, prompting mainland China to launch a show of force that could be a trial run for a future invasion.

The package – the largest for Taiwan approved under President Joe Biden s administration – includes US$665 million for contractor support to maintain and upgrade a Raytheon early radar warning system in operation since 2013 that would warn Taiwan about an incoming attack.

Taiwan will also spend about US355 million to buy 60 Harpoon Block II missiles which can track and sink incoming vessels if China launches an assault by water.

The arms also include US$85.6 million for more than 100 Sidewinder missiles, a mainstay of Western militaries for their air-to-air firepower.

The announcement comes one day after Taiwanese forces shot down an unidentified commercial drone amid a sudden spate of mysterious incursions that have unnerved the island following the earlier show of force by Beijing, which said it fired ballistic missiles over the capital Taipei.

China, calling Taiwan an “inalienable” part of its territory, called on the United States to “immediately revoke” the arms sales.

“It sends wrong signals to  Taiwan independence  separatist forces and severely jeopardises China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” said Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington.

“China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary countermeasures in light of the development of the situation,” he said.

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