In a statement, the U.S. State Department said, a military package, related to the upgrading Patriot surface-to-air missiles, worth $620 million has been approved for Taiwan, in the latest move designed to bolster defenses against threats emanating from China.
The United States, by law, is bound to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.
In a series of claims, China has claimed not only the Russian city of Vladivostok, parts of India’s Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, but also areas in the South China bordering the Philippines, Vietnam, and claims that Taiwan to be wayward province.
The sale follows a request from Taiwan to buy components to upgrade its Patriot missiles “in order to support an operational life of 30 years”, said the State Department.
Lockheed Martin is the main contractor.
“This proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” said the State Department, while adding, “The recipient will use this capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen homeland defense. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”
In a statement Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said, it expects the sale to take effect within the next month.
“This arms sale is the 7th by the Trump administration to Taiwan so far, fully demonstrating the importance attached to our national defense security, consolidating our security partnership with the United States, and jointly maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region,” said Taiwan’s Defense ministry.
With China increasingly making threatening moves, Taiwan has been bolstering its defences. China’s air force and navy regularly conduct exercises near Taiwan.
While Taiwan’s military is well-trained and well-equipped, China has numerical superiority and is adding advanced equipment of its own including stealth fighters.