US enrages China with $1.1 Billion arms sale to Taiwan

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The US State Department has appr­oved a potential $1.1 billion sale of military equipment to Taiwan, with China threatening to take counter measures.

On Friday, Pentagon announced the package in the wake of China’s aggressive military drills around Taiwan. A visit to the country last month by the highest-ranking US officials to travel to Taipei in years, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said that the sale would include Har­poon anti-ship missiles at an estimated $355 million cost, Side­winder missiles, which can be used for air-to-air and surface-attack missions, at a cost of $85.6 million and support for Taiwan’s surveillance radar programme for an estimated $665.4 million.

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Spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington Liu Pengyu, said in a statement the possible arms sale “severely jeopardises Chin­a-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” He further stated that “China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation,”.

President Joe Biden’s adm­i­n­istration said the package has been under consideration for some time and was developed in consultation with Taiwan and US lawmakers.

Laura Rosenberger, White House senior director for China and Taiwan, said in a statement “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, were providing Taiwan with what it needs to maintain its self-defense capabilities,”.

The Biden administration was planning new equipment for Taiwan but that the equipment would sustain Taiwan’s current military systems and fulfil existing orders, not offer new capabilities, despite the heightened tensions that followed Pelosi’s visit.

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