U.S. approves $500m arms sales to Taiwan

 The U.S. has approved a 500-million dollar potential sale of weapons to Taiwan to help boost the island’s airspace defence capability.

The U.S. Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a Wednesday statement that the sale would include F-16 Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems and related equipment.

“The proposed sale will improve the recipient’s capability to meet current and future threats by contributing to the recipient’s abilities to defend its airspace.

“It will provide regional security and increase interoperability with the U.S. through its F-16 programme,” the DSCA said in the statement.

The U.S. agency said the proposed sale of this equipment and support would not alter the basic military balance in the region.

In Taipei, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence expressed gratitude for the approval, adding that the deal was expected to take effect one month after U.S. Congress is notified.

“These systems will be put to good use in maintaining regional stability,” the ministry said in a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

China’s routinely sends military aircraft and drones into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, posing a serious military threat to the island, the ministry in Taipei said in a statement.

The office of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said the package was the 11th U.S. arms sale to Taiwan since President Joe Biden took office in 2021.

The deal is likely to draw ire from Beijing, which rejects any official exchange between the U.S. and Taiwan.

The leadership in Beijing regards Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China, in spite of the island having its own independent government since 1949.

The U.S. is legally bound to support Taiwan’s defence capabilities due to the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act. (dpa/NAN)