The United States has approved a potential sale of $619 million in new weapons to Taiwan, including missiles for its F-16 fleet, as tensions between Taiwan and China continue to escalate. The sale, which is likely to upset Beijing, includes 200 anti-aircraft Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and 100 AGM-88B HARM missiles. The move has been seen by some as unwarranted support for Taiwan, which China regards as its own territory.
The deal was confirmed by the US State Department on Wednesday and is expected to contribute to Taiwan’s ability to defend its airspace and provide regional security. The missiles will be provided by principal contractors Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin, both of which have been sanctioned by China for selling weapons to Taiwan.
China’s military activities near Taiwan intensify
Taiwan has reported a second day of large-scale Chinese air force incursions nearby, with its defence ministry spotting 21 aircraft in the last 24 hours. The J-10 and J-16 fighters were seen flying into the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone. While none of the aircraft crossed the sensitive median line of the Taiwan Strait, this has served as an unofficial barrier between the two sides, which China’s air force has been flying over almost daily since staging war games near Taiwan last August.
Taiwan offers talks with China but will defend itself if attacked
Taiwan’s government has repeatedly offered talks with China but says the island will defend itself if attacked. The defence ministry has said the missiles provided by the US will help to “effectively defend the airspace to deal with threats and provocations from the Communist military” and bolster defence stockpiles. Meanwhile, China has justified its military activities near Taiwan as an effort to defend its territorial integrity and to warn the United States against “colluding” with Taiwan, despite the anger this causes in Taipei.
As tensions continue to rise between Taiwan and China, the US has approved a $619 million arms deal to Taiwan, including anti-aircraft missiles. China has continued to increase its military activities near Taiwan, with 21 aircraft spotted in the last 24 hours. While Taiwan has offered talks with China, it has also pledged to defend itself if attacked. The situation remains tense, and the sale of arms is likely to further anger Beijing.