US plans weaponry sale to Taiwan amid tensions with China

17 September 2020 (Last Updated September 17th, 2020 12:22)

The US is planning to sell weaponry to Taiwan to help enhance its defences amid increasing tensions with China.

US plans weaponry sale to Taiwan amid tensions with China
Taiwan plans to acquire Lockheed Martin’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). Credit: US Army.

The US is planning to sell weaponry to Taiwan to help enhance its defences amid increasing tensions with China.

The sale is said to be worth up to $7bn, according to The Financial Times.

If confirmed, the deal may trigger fresh tensions between the US and China.

According to a Reuters report, the latest arms sale may comprise major weapons systems such as sea mines, cruise missiles and drones.

However, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry did not confirm the sale and said the reported package was a ‘media assumption’.

It further added that no official comment from the ministry will be provided until formal notification from the US side.

Currently, the weapons packages are under the export process and a notification to the US Congress is expected within a few weeks, the news agency further added quoting unnamed sources.

Taiwan seeks to acquire Lockheed Martin’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), anti-tank missiles and armed drones from the US.

The sale may also include Boeing Harpoon anti-ship missiles to strengthen coastal defences.

The relationship between the US and China has deteriorated lately over trade, accusations of espionage and, most recently, the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

China considers Taiwan as one of its provinces and vehemently condemns any military support for the island.

Last year, it was reported that China will sanction US defence firms involved in a $2.2bn arms deal with Taiwan.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who was re-elected in January, has stated enhancing the island’s defences is one of the top priorities.