The United States has approved the sale of $619 million worth of ammunition for F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. The Pentagon announced it. The package includes 100 AGM-88B high-velocity anti-radiation missiles (HARMs), 200 AIM-120C-8 medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs), and dummy launchers and missiles for training, the statement said. The sale will enhance Taiwan’s “ability to provide for its airspace defense, regional security, and interoperability with the United States.” The announcement comes amid heightened tensions between the US and China over Taiwan, as well as the downing last month of a balloon over US airspace that Washington said was a Chinese surveillance device.
The sale contributes to the maintenance of the peace
Taiwan has been self-governing for more than seven decades, but Beijing regards it as a renegade province. The US State Department has separately said the sale is consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act and Washington’s One China Policy, which accepts that there is only one state called China. “US support for Taiwan and steps taken by Taiwan to enhance its self-defense capabilities contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” the State Department said.
Taiwan will continue to improve self-defense skills
Taiwan said it welcomes the first US arms sale of the year and the ninth so far during President Joe Biden’s term. “Faced with China’s continued military expansion and provocative behavior, Taiwan will continue to actively improve its self-defense capabilities,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jeff Liu said.
The United States “should respect the ‘One China’ principle, stop creating new factors that lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait.” This is the comment made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning, on the new arms sale. Washington “should stop using Taiwan to contain China” which, Mao assured in the daily briefing, “will continue to take all necessary measures to forcefully safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity”.