US advances with three weaponry sales to Taiwan

13 October 2020 (Last Updated October 13th, 2020 11:46)

The US administration is reportedly advancing with the sale of three advanced weaponry packages to Taiwan.

US advances with three weaponry sales to Taiwan
Taiwan plans to acquire Lockheed Martin’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). Credit: US Army.

The US administration is reportedly advancing with the sale of three advanced weaponry packages to Taiwan.

According to a Reuters report, the heads of Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were informed that the US State Department has approved the possible weapons sales.

The two committees have the right to assess or block potential weapon sales before the sales are formally notified to the US Congress.

Sources told the news agency that the notifications were for Lockheed Martin-made truck-based rocket launcher, Boeing’s long-range air-to-ground missiles called SLAM-ER and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that will allow the aircraft to send imagery and data to ground stations in real time.

The US State Department is also expected to soon approve the sale of other armaments such as aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines.

A US State Department spokesperson told Reuters: “As a matter of policy, the US does not confirm or comment on proposed defence sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”

If confirmed, the move is likely to face a strong response from China, which considers Taiwan as one of its provinces and opposes any military support to the island.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian already said that the US should suspend weaponry sales to Taiwan.

Taiwan’s representative office in Washington and its defence ministry refused to comment on the development.

The potential sale of weapons to Taiwan was first reported last month.