WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday (Sep 2) announced a new US$1.1 billion package of arms to Taiwan, in a new bid to boost the island’s defences amid soaring tensions with Beijing.
The latest US sale comes a month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defiantly visited the self-governing democracy, prompting mainland China to launch a show of force that could be a trial run for a future invasion.
The package includes US$665 million for an early radar warning system to help Taiwan in tracking incoming missiles and US$355 million for up to 60 advanced Harpoon missiles, which are capable of sinking incoming ships.
A spokesperson for the State Department, which approved the sale, said that the package was “essential for Taiwan’s security”.
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan,” the spokesperson said.
The State Department said that the United States still recognises only Beijing, which claims the island as its own.
“These proposed sales are routine cases to support Taiwan’s continuing efforts to modernise its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” the spokesperson said.
“The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan,” he said.
The sale needs the approval of US Congress, which is virtually assured as Taiwan enjoys strong support across party lines.