LAST UPDATE: 08:11
The US State Department has approved the potential sale to Taiwan of $1.1 billion worth of military equipment, including 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles.
The announcement came in the wake of Chinese military exercises around Taiwan following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island last month – the highest-ranking US official to travel to Taipei in recent years.
The package includes 100 Sidewinder missiles to intercept enemy missiles and drones ($85.6 million), 60 Harpoon anti-ship missiles ($355 million), and support for Taiwan’s radar system ($665 million ), states the US State Department in a statement.
Following State Department approval, the arms sale must receive congressional approval, which is considered almost certain.
“We call on Beijing to cease military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taipei and instead engage in dialogue” with it, a State Department spokesman said, adding that “the United States continues to support a peaceful resolution of the issue, consistent with wishes and in the interests of the people of Taiwan”.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory, while Taipei maintains that Beijing never ruled the island and has no right to claim it.
China is threatening countermeasures
The Chinese government today threatened the US with “retaliation” if it goes ahead with a new arms sale to Taiwan, which the State Department approved on Friday.
“China will resolutely take legal and necessary countermeasures,” warned Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington.
The US State Department gave the “green light” to the possible sale of $1.1 billion worth of weapons to Taiwan, including 100 Sidewinder missiles to intercept enemy missiles and drones ($85.6 million), 60 Harpoon anti-aircraft missiles warships ($355 million) and support for Taiwan’s radar system ($665 million).
Following approval by the State Department, the arms sale must receive the approval of the US Congress, which is considered almost certain.