The Biden administration has agreed to more than $1.1 billion in arms sales to Taiwan, a move likely to further fuel already heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The administration formally notified Congress on Friday of the proposed sale, which includes up to 60 anti-ship missiles and up to 100 air-to-air missiles.
Laura Rosenberger, senior White House director for China and Taiwan, said this is the largest arms sale to Taiwan to date under the Biden administration, and that they have been “in direct consultation and discussions with members of Congress and Taiwan.” about its defense needs in light of changing security conditions.”
“This package had been in the works for a while precisely because we expected it to be necessary as the PRC stepped up pressure on Taiwan,” she said, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China. “It reflects the US government’s assessment of Taiwan’s defense needs and the threat the PRC poses to the country.”
Rosenberger noted that the proposed arms sales package “includes critical asymmetric defensive capabilities that are prioritized by Taiwan, including harpoon missiles in support of Taiwan’s coastal defenses; AIM-9X missiles to support Taiwan’s air defense and support the Taiwanese surveillance radar program at the heart of Taiwan’s C4ISR.”
“As the PRC continues to increase pressure on Taiwan – including through increased military air and maritime presence around Taiwan – and makes efforts to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, we are giving Taiwan what it needs to become itself. to enforce. defense capabilities,” she said in a statement to CNN.
A State Department spokesman said the sale was in line with United States policy toward Taiwan, pointing to the US’s long history of supplying defensive weapons to the island.
The “prompt delivery” of such weapons, they said, “is essential to Taiwan’s security and we will continue to work with industry to support that goal.”
“In accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States is making available Taiwan’s defense items and services necessary to enable the country to maintain sufficient self-defense capability,” the spokesperson said, noting that “these proposed sales are routine matters for supporting Taiwan’s ongoing efforts to modernize its armed forces and maintain a credible defensive capability.”
“For four decades, America’s one-China policy has been guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiqués, and the Six Assurances,” they continued. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan.”
“The United States will continue to support a peaceful solution to the problems in the Strait, consistent with the aspirations and interests of the people of Taiwan,” the spokesman said.
Tensions between China and the US ran high after President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in early August.
Earlier this week, two US Navy warships entered the Taiwan Strait in what was the first US naval passage in the waterway since US-China tensions flared during Pelosi’s visit.
This story was updated Thursday with additional information.