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US approves deal to boost Taiwan defense systems

February 8, 2022

The $100 million arms deal is meant to help Taiwan "sustain, maintain and improve" its air-defense missiles in the face of pressure from China, a US defense agency said.

A Hsiung Feng II missile launcher on a Taiwanese corvette, a Taiwanese navy serviceman looks on
The sale was requested by Taiwan's de facto embassy in WashingtonImage: Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA Press Wire/picture alliance

US President Joe Biden's administration has approved a $100 million (€87 million) sale of equipment and services to Taiwan aimed at boosting the island's missile defense systems, the Pentagon said on Monday.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement that upgrades to the Patriot Air Defense System would "help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, economic and progress in the region."

"This proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability," the DSCA said.

The agency said that the main contractors would be Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin.

'In the face' of Chinese provocation

Taiwan's Defense Ministry thanked the State Department for the arms sale in a tweet.

The ministry said that the deal was expected to come into effect within one month.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry also said it "highly welcomed" the decision.

"In the face of China's continued military expansion and provocative actions, our country will maintain its national security with a solid defense, and continue to deepen the close security partnership between Taiwan and the United States," the ministry said in a statement.

Taiwanese F-16V jet fighters taxing on a runway
in January, Taiwan scrambled jets in respons to the detection of Chinese warplanes in its air defense zoneImage: Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMAPRESS.com/picture alliance

What is the situation in Taiwan?

The US officially follows the "One China" policy and recognizes Taiwan as part of China. However, the US is also committed to ensuring Taiwan can defend itself.

Taiwan has complained of missions by China's air force in its air defense zone. On January 23, Taiwanese officials said they had detected 39 Chinese warplanes in Taiwan's air defense zone.

Last month, China's ambassador to the US said that the two powers could end up in a military conflict if Washington encourages Taiwan's independence.

sdi/fb (AP, Reuters)