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US Moves Forward with Arms Sales to Taiwan, Infuriating China

October 13, 2020, 10.17 PM

WASHINGTON, – The Trump administration is moving forward with arms sales to Taiwan with China threatening retaliation over the move.

In recent days, the White House sent a notification of the deals to Congress for approval, five sources said on Monday.

The Trump administration’s arms sales to Taiwan encompasses three sales of advanced weaponry.

Read also: Taiwan Military Claims Right to Self-Defense in Wake of China Threats

The move in the run-up to the November 3 Election Day, first reported by Reuters, is likely to anger China, which considers Taiwan a wayward province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the US export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the US State Department.

The State Department oversees foreign military sales, said the sources, who are familiar with the situation but declined to be identified.

The informal notifications of arms sales to Taiwan were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations.

Read also: US State Department Okays Sale of 8 MV-22 Osprey Aircraft to Indonesia

Notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines, to deter amphibious landings, have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said.

A State Department Spokesman said of the arms sales to Taiwan plan: "As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress."

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said US arms sales to Taiwan severely damaged China's sovereignty and security interests, urging Washington to clearly recognize the harm they caused and immediately cancel them.

Read also: In “New Cold War with China”, Germany Demands Europe and US Stand Together

"China will make a legitimate and necessary response according to how the situation develops," Zhao told reporters in Beijing, without elaborating.


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