The US State Department has given the nod for the sale of 100 Harpoon anti-ship missile systems to Taiwan, the latest in a series of massive weapons transfers to the island as Beijing warns it will retaliate with sanctions.
The $2.37 billion deal, announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency on Monday, includes up to 100 land-based Harpoon missile systems, some 400 munitions designed to take down enemy warships, 25 radar vehicles and a number of practice missiles. The sale now awaits final approval in Congress.
— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) October 26, 2020
Monday’s announcement comes as the fourth major sale approved to Taiwan over the last week, with the State Department green lighting three other deals for advanced weaponry last Wednesday, including for the HIMARS mobile rocket artillery system, long-range air-to-ground missiles and sensor upgrades for the country’s F-16 fighter jet fleet – all valued at over $1.8 billion.
In response to the last round of sales, Beijing said it would impose sanctions on three US arms manufacturers – Lockheed Martin, Boeing and a subsidiary of Raytheon – insisting the weapons transfers destabilize the region and violate Chinese sovereignty.
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US arms sales to Taiwan have long stoked the ire of Beijing, which sees the island as a rebellious province of China-proper. Since 1949, following the Chinese Civil War, Taiwan has been governed by an administration separate from the Mainland, the self-avowed “Republic of China,” which considers itself a de jure sovereign nation over the objections of Beijing.
A number of other US weapons sales to Taiwan are reportedly in various stages of approval, according to Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, believed to include a $400 million deal for MQ-9 Reaper drones. Previous reports noted the potential sale of the Harpoon missiles, and suggested the total price tag could come to over $7 billion for seven major US weapons systems, four of which have already been approved. Those are added atop another $15 billion in arms deals under US President Donald Trump alone, who’s overseen a sharp uptick in sales to the island.
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