State Department gives nod to $2.37 billion arms sales to Taiwan
WASHINGTON (US) – The Pentagon said on Monday that the State Department has given the nod for the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan, which is valued at $2.37 billion (1.8 billion pounds).
This comes days after the State Department gave its assent to the sale of three other weapons systems to the self-governing island, including sensors, missiles and artillery valued at $1.8 billion. This triggered sanctions threat from China.
China has said it will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, Raytheon and other American companies that are involved in US arms sales to Taiwan, said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman on Monday.
“We deplore Beijing’s efforts to retaliate against US and foreign companies for their sales that support Taiwan’s legitimate self-defense requirements,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
The formal notifications to the Congress by the State Department covered the sale of up to 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDS), which include 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles that will serve as coastal defense cruise missiles.
Taiwan said the arms sales showed how the defense of the island was of great significance to the US government.
“Facing China’s military expansion and provocation, Taiwan will continue to enhance the modernisation of defense capacity and speed up asymmetric warfare capabilities,” Taipei said in a statement.
The State Department sent notifications last week for the first set of arms sales, including 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.
As per the formal notification, the Congress has 30 days to object to a deal that involves sale of weapons. But this is unlikely given the support for the defence of Taiwan.