Potential arms sale to Taiwan could put China’s east coast in the crosshairs

MELBOURNE, Australia — The U.S. State Department’s approval of the potential sales of air- and ground-launched, long-range land-attack missiles is a marked departure from previous American policy of only selling so-called defensive weapons to Taiwan.

This broadens the options for the self-governing island to mount not only a ground-based counterstrike in the event of Chinese ballistic missile attack on Taiwan, but would also enable it to disrupt a potential Chinese invasion by striking ports, air bases and other military targets across the Taiwan Strait.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Wednesday that the State Department approved three separate arms packages to Taiwan under the Foreign Military Sales program.

The potential $1.8 billion deal is for 135 Boeing AGM-84H SLAM-ER missiles; 11 Lockheed Martin M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems; and six sets of Collins Aerospace’s MS-110 multispectral long-range oblique photography pods.

The DSCA notification did not identify the aircraft

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China threatens retaliation over US-Taiwan arms sale | China

China says US move sends ‘a very wrong signal to separatist forces advocating for Taiwanese independence’.

China has threatened to “make legitimate and necessary responses” after the United States approved the potential sale of $1.8bn worth of advanced weapons systems to Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its own.

The Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday said the US – in approving the arms sale – was violating agreements signed in the 1970s that established diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The weapons sale includes 135 air-to-ground missiles that Taiwan’s defence ministry said would build its combat capabilities amid increasing threats by China to annex the territory by force if necessary.

The US move is “sending a very wrong signal to separatist forces advocating for Taiwan independence, and seriously damages China-US relations”, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said at a regular news briefing.

Zhao said

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China threatens retaliation over US arms sale to Taiwan

China is threatening to retaliate against the U.S. after the Trump administration approved a $1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the autonomous island that Beijing considers its own territory. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused the U.S. of “interfering” in Beijing’s affairs and said the sale could lead to regional insecurity.

“It seriously interferes in China’s internal affairs, seriously harms China’s sovereignty and security interests, sends out gravely wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces and severely undermines China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China firmly opposes it,” Zhao said Thursday.

Zhao urged the U.S. to “stop arms sales to and military ties with the Taiwan region, cancel its arms sales plans to avoid further harming China-US relations and cross-strait peace and stability,” warning that “China will make a legitimate and necessary reaction in the light of the development of the situation.” 

The rebuke comes after

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US approves $1.8bn in potential arms sales to Taiwan | Taiwan

The US Department of State has approved the potential sale of three weapons systems to Taiwan, including sensors, missiles and artillery that could have a total value of $1.8bn, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, amid rising tension over the self-ruled island that China claims as its own.

Among other weapons systems, Wednesday’s formal notifications to Congress by the State Department were for 11 truck-based rocket launchers made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), at an estimated cost of $436.1m.

The notifications also covered 135 AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) Missiles and related equipment made by Boeing, for an estimated $1.008bn, and six MS-110 Recce external sensor pods made by Collins Aerospace for jets, at an estimated cost of $367.2m.

A pilot of an F-16 fighter jet attends a military drill at Zhi-Hang Air Base in Taitung, Taiwan [File: Tyrone Siu/Reuters]

Further

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Taiwan says not seeking arms race with China after new U.S. arms sale

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan is not seeking to get involved in an arms race with China but does need a credible combat capability, Defence Minister Yen De-fa said on Thursday, after the United States approved a potential $1.8 billion arms sale to the Chinese-claimed island.

Beijing has applied increasing pressure om democratically-ruled Taiwan to accept China’s sovereignty, including by flying fighter jets across the sensitive mid-line of the Taiwan Strait, which normally serves as an unofficial buffer.

The latest U.S. arms package includes sensors, missiles and artillery, and further congressional notifications are expected for drones made by General Atomics and land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles, made by Boeing Co, to serve as coastal defence cruise missiles.

Speaking to reporters, Yen thanked the United States and said the sales were to help Taiwan improve their defensive capabilities to deal with the “enemy threat and new situation”.

“This includes a credible combat capability

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Trump administration gives notice to Congress on three planned arms sales to Taiwan

The Trump administration has alerted Congress of its intent to move forward with three advanced weapons sales to Taiwan, a congressional aide and a source familiar told CNN Monday.



a close up of a flag


© MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images


The move comes as the administration seeks to bolster ties with Taipei amid escalating tensions with Beijing. The sales are likely to further inflame those tensions.

According to the sources, the administration provided informal notification over the weekend of the proposed sales of High Mobility Artillery Rocket System — a long-range rocket artillery system that can strike targets up to 190 miles away — Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response — cruise missiles that are fired from aircraft and are designed to strike ground targets — and external sensor pods for F-16 jets.

The informal notification process is a common practice in which the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee get a heads up

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