The State Department of USA approved a potential sale of military equipment to $1.16 billion on Taiwan, the world agencies reported. In response, China threatened to retaliate if the sale was not reversed.
The news comes a month after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. Her visit significantly escalated tensions with Beijing, which claims the self-governing island as its own territory.
“At a time when China is putting Taiwan under increasing pressure, we are providing Taipei with what it needs to maintain its defense capabilities,” said Laura Rosenberger, senior White House director for China and Taiwan affairs.
The deal, approved by the US on Friday, includes a $655 million logistics support package for an air defense radar system, 60 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and 100 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported on Saturday.
The new military equipment is expected to boost Taiwan’s air and water defense capabilities against China and the military’s early warning capabilities.
China, for its part, has said it will respond with countermeasures if the U.S. does not reverse the sale it has approved. According to the representative of the diplomatic mission, the possible sale “seriously threatens” American-Chinese relations.
“China will take the necessary vigorous and legitimate countermeasures in view of the development of the situation,” he said.
On Thursday, Taiwanese forces shot down a suspected Chinese drone flying over a restricted area between the Taipei-controlled Jingmin Island Group and the city of Xiamen on the mainland Chinese coast.
Soldiers on one of the islands of the Jingming Archipelago fired warning flares at several Chinese civilian drones that were spotted in the area yesterday afternoon, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said last night.
The Chinese authorities consider Taiwan to be Chinese territory and do not accept official contacts between their diplomatic partners and the government in Taipei. Russian invasion of Ukraine fueled fears that China could annex the democratic island republic by force.