The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale to Taiwan of equipment, training, and other items to support the Patriot Air Defense System in a deal valued at up to $95 million, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained of increased military pressure by Beijing to try and force the democratically ruled island to accept its sovereignty.
The package would include training, planning, fielding, deployment, operation, maintenance, and associated equipment for the Patriot Air Defense System, according to the Pentagon.
Raytheon would be the primary contractor for the sale, said the Pentagon. There was no indication that a contract had been signed or negotiations had concluded. “This proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” it said.
“The proposed sale will help to sustain the recipient’s missile density and ensure readiness for air operations. The recipient will use this capability as a deterrent to regional threats and strengthen homeland defense.”
The United States is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties and the anger such weapons sales always generate in Beijing.
Taiwan’s presidential office noted this was the third arms sale announced since President Joe Biden took office, and showed the “rock-solid” nature of their relationship. “Taiwan will continue to demonstrate its determination to defend itself, and continue to deepen cooperative partnerships with the United States and other like-minded countries,” spokesperson Xavier Chang said in a statement.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it expected the deal to “become effective” within the month.