Saturday, 5 Dec 2020

US State Department approves US$2.37b more in potential arms sales to Taiwan: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – The US State Department has approved the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defence Systems to Taiwan in a deal that has a potential value of up to US$2.37 billion (S$3.2 billion), the Pentagon said on Monday (Oct 26).

The move comes days after the State Department approved the potential sale of three other weapons systems to Taiwan, including sensors, missiles and artillery that could have a total value of US$1.8 billion, which prompted a sanctions threat from China.

On Monday in Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told reporters China will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin , Boeing Defence, Raytheon and other US companies it says are involved in Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan.

US State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement: “We deplore Beijing’s efforts to retaliate against US and foreign companies for their sales that support Taiwan’s legitimate self-defence requirements.”

Monday’s formal notifications to Congress by the State Department covered the proposed sale of up to 100 Harpoon Coastal Defence Systems (HCDS), which includes 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles to serve as coastal defence cruise missiles.

Last week, the State Department sent notifications to Capitol Hill for the first tranche of arms sales which included truck-based rocket launchers made by Lockheed, Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) missiles and related equipment made by Boeing Co, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets.

Reuters was first to report in September that sales of major weapons systems to Taiwan were making their way through the US export process.

The formal notification gives Congress 30 days to object to any sales, but this is unlikely given broad bipartisan support for the defence of Taiwan.

The US moves come as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China in the runup to the Nov 3 presidential election and concerns rise about Beijing’s intentions towardc Taiwan.

More on this topic

Beijing sees Taiwan as a renegade province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

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