US Agrees $1.1bn Arms Deal With Taiwan

The Sidewinder surface to air missile

The US has agreed to a $1.1bn weapons deal with Taiwan, prompting an angry response from China.

The proposed deal includes a $655m radar warning system and $355m for 60 Harpoon missiles, which are capable of sinking ships, and comes following a visit to the island by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month.

Also included in the deal is $85.6m for Sidewinder surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

A spokesperson for the Department of State called the deal “essential for Taiwan’s security”, challenging on Beijing “to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue”.

“These proposed sales are routine cases to support Taiwan’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” the spokesperson said.

The Chinese embassy in Washington called on the US to cancel the deal or face “counter-measures”, with spokesman Liu Pengyu saying that the deal “severely jeopardizes” relations between the two nations.

“China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation,” he said.

Beijing launched large-scale military drills around Taiwan last month, timed to coincide with Pelosi’s visit. China views the island as part of its territory, and has refused to rule out the use of force to regain control of the region.

The agreed deal between the US and Taiwan still needs to be voted on by the US Congress, although its approval is expected to be a formality.