Kabul: The United States on Friday announced a $1.1 billion arms package for Taiwan, vowing to keep boosting the island’s defences as tensions soar with Beijing, which warned Washington of “counter-measures.”
The sale comes a month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defiantly visited the self-governing democracy, prompting mainland China to launch a show of force that could be a trial run for a future invasion. The package — the largest for Taiwan approved under President Joe Biden’s administration — includes $665 million for contractor support to maintain and upgrade a Raytheon early radar warning system in operation since 2013 that would warn Taiwan about an incoming attack.
Taiwanese Presidential Office spokesman Chang Tun-han in a statement thanked the United States for its continued support for the island’s security and defence. “This arms sale will not only help our soldiers fight against grey zone coercion, it will also enhance the island’s early warning capabilities against long range ballistic missiles,” he said.
China, calling Taiwan an “inalienable” part of its territory, urged the United States to “immediately revoke” the arms sales.
“It sends wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and severely jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” said Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington.
“China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation,” he added.
The sale needs the approval of the US Congress, which is virtually assured as Taiwan enjoys strong support across party lines.