| 24 March 2023, Friday |

Taiwan’s military to get major arms boost from US; China reacts

A potential sale of $619 million in new weapons to Taiwan, was approved by United States on Wednesday, as it reports large-scale Chinese air force incursions nearby. According to the Pentagon, the US State Department approved the potential sale which includes 200 anti-aircraft Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and 100 AGM-88B HARM missiles that can take out land-based radar stations.

“The proposed sale will contribute to the recipient’s capability to provide for the defence of its airspace, regional security, and interoperability with the United States,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Taiwan’s defence ministry, meanwhile, said the missiles would “effectively defend the airspace to deal with threats and provocations from the Communist military” and would bolster defence stockpiles, the news agency Reuters reported. The ministry added that American defence companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies are the principal contractors. The above companies have been sanctioned by China for selling weapons to Taiwan.

This major military boost to Taiwan comes as it reported on Thursday a second-day large-scale Chinese air force incursions into its air defence identification zone. The defence ministry said that during the last 24 hours, it spotted 21 aircraft.

The Chinese foreign ministry said on Thursday that it firmly opposed the new US arms sale package for Taiwan and that Washington should stop sales to, and military contact with Taipei.

“China urges the US side to abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués, stop arms sales to Taiwan and stop U.S.-Taiwan military ties, and stop creating factors of tension in the Taiwan Strait,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

“China will continue to take resolute and strong measures to firmly defend its sovereignty and security interests,” she added.

The foreign ministry spokesperson also emphasised that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory. “The root cause of the tension in the Taiwan Strait is the DPP authorities’ pursuit of Taiwan independence and secession, as well as some countries’ attempts to use Taiwan to control China,” she said.

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