The State Department has approved the sale of infrared search and track systems and other equipment for US-made F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan. The proposed deal worth $500 million was greenlighted on Wednesday, as tensions continue between Washington and Beijing, which considers Taiwan its territory.
According to a statement from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the package includes spare parts, software, “aircraft and munitions support,” and training equipment. Taiwan also requested “US government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services,” the agency added.
“The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region,” the DSCA said.
Taiwan is currently upgrading its fleet of F-16A/B planes. The Taipei government purchased 66 new F-16V jets from Washington in 2019. The first batch will arrive on the island in the third quarter of 2024, almost a year later than originally planned. According to the Taiwanese Defense Ministry, the shipment was delayed due to problems with flight control software.
Taipei will also receive the first 38 of more than 100 US-made M1A2T Abrams tanks next year, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Monday.
Beijing insists that the sale of US arms to Taiwan violates the ‘one-China’ policy and views such deals as meddling in its domestic affairs.
“An increasing number of Taiwan people have come to realize that the US is turning Taiwan into a ‘powder keg’ and an ‘ammunition depot’, rather than providing protection,” Zhu Fenglian, spokeswoman for mainland China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said in June.
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