The White House is advancing to sell more military equipment to Taiwan. It has told Congress on Tuesday, 13th October 2020 that it will seek to sell Taipei MQ-9 drones and a coastal defensive missile system.
The total sales have a value of around 5 billion dollars. The numbers for U.S. foreign military sales include costs for training, fees, and spares which makes the values difficult to pinpoint. According to sources, seven major weapons systems were going out through the U.S. export process. Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to ramp up pressure on China.
The White House’s notification to Congress about the drones comes after President Trump’s administration went ahead with its plan to sell more drones to more countries. This is under an international arms control agreement, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
The White House Has Advanced To Sell Sophisticated Military Equipment To Taiwan For Defence
According to a Taiwan government source, Taiwan has five weapon systems that are moving through the process.
The U.S. Senate’s House of Representatives Foreign Affairs and Foreign Relations committees have the right to review, and also block, weapons sales. According to sources, the leaders of the committees were also notified that the planned weapons sales have the approval of the U.S. State Department which is the department that oversees foreign military sales.
According to sources, an informal notification had already been sent to Congress for a truck-based rocket launcher. The launcher is made by Lockheed Martin Corp LMT.N. There are also long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets. These jets allow the real-time transmission of data and imagery from the aircraft to ground stations.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely damage China’s security and sovereignty interests. Zhao also urged Washington to recognize the harm they are causing and to immediately cancel them. He also added that China will make a legitimate and necessary response seeing how the situation develops.
China considers Taiwan a wayward province. China wants to reunite Taiwan with the mainland, by force if necessary. But Washington considers Taiwan an important democratic outpost. And it is also the requirement by law to provide it with the means to defend itself from its enemies. Washington wants to see Taiwan strengthen its defensive capabilities in the face of increasingly aggressive Chinese moves toward the island.
The U.S. national security adviser, Robert O’Brien has said that Taiwan needs to invest in capabilities. This includes more coastal defense cruise missiles, fast-attack craft, mobile artillery, naval mines, and also advanced surveillance assets.