US approves $2.37bn in potential arms sales to Taiwan | US & Canada

The approval comes as Beijing promises to sanction US companies involved in the sale.

The US State Department has approved the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan in a deal that has a potential value of up to $2.37bn, the Pentagon has said on Monday.

The move came days after the State Department approved the potential sale of three other weapons systems to Taiwan, including sensors, missiles and artillery that could have a total value of $1.8bn, which prompted a sanctions threat from China.

On Monday in Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told reporters China will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin , Boeing Defense, Raytheon and other US companies it says are involved in Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan.

US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement: “We deplore Beijing’s efforts to retaliate against US and foreign companies for their sales that support Taiwan’s legitimate self-defence requirements.”

Monday’s formal notifications to Congress by the State Department covered the proposed sale of up to 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems, which includes 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles to serve as coastal defence cruise missiles.

Last week, the State Department sent notifications to Capitol Hill for the first tranche of arms sales which included truck-based rocket launchers made by Lockheed, Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response missiles and related equipment made by Boeing and external sensor pods for F-16 jets.

Reuters reported in September that sales of major weapons systems to Taiwan were making their way through the US export process.

The formal notification gives Congress 30 days to object to any sales, but this is unlikely given broad bipartisan support for the defence of Taiwan.

The US moves came as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China in the run-up to the November 3 presidential election and concerns rise about Beijing’s intentions towards Taiwan. Beijing sees Taiwan as a renegade province that it has pledged to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.


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