Amid a new escalation of tensions with China, the US is selling $1 billion worth of weapons and defense systems to Taiwan. The US State Department has announced that among the military equipment to be provided to Taiwan is a missile interception radar system worth $665 million, as well as 60 advanced Harpoon missiles that can sink warships – for another $355 million.
“Key deal for Taiwan’s safety”
Taiwan will also purchase 100 Sidewinder missiles, which can be launched from combat aircraft or from combat helicopters, at a total cost of $85.6 million. The US State Department announced that the arms sale deal was “key to Taiwan’s security”.
At the same time, Washington called on China to end “military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan and start a reasonable dialogue with the country.” China reacted strongly to the news of the arms sales and threatened consequences. “The supply of new and advanced weapons to Taiwan is a serious threat to relations between Washington and Beijing and must be immediately canceled,” said a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in the US capital.
“China will certainly take completely legal and necessary measures in view of the development of the situation.”
Doubts that Beijing will act like Putin
Since Taiwan’s separation from China in 1949, Beijing has viewed the island as a breakaway territory that must be returned to China – if necessary, even through military action. Russia’s war with Ukraine has raised doubts that China might take the same approach in its relations with Taiwan.
The latest escalation came after Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, ignoring warnings from China and US politicians that it would provoke a response from Beijing. After her visit, China held the largest military exercises in its history near Taiwan.