Today, the Obama administration notified Congress of a new $1.83 billion arms sale package for Taiwan.
The authorization, which many had been expecting this week, comes a year after Congress passed legislation approving the sale. It constitutes the first major arms sale to Taiwan in more than four years.
As with other foreign military sales (FMS), the authorization was formally announced as a notification to Congress following an approval by the U.S. State Department. It includes two Perry-class Frigates, Javelin anti-tank missiles, TOW 2B anti-tank missiles and AAV-7 Amphibious Assault Vehicles. It also includes follow-on work for Taiwan’s Syun-An C4ISR systems, Link 11/Link 16 for Taiwan’s naval ships, F-16 MIDS/NTAMS/Fuzes and Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems; and Stinger surface-to-air missiles.
“This Foreign Military Sales package supports Taiwan’s efforts to develop more innovative and asymmetric defensive capabilities,” David McKeeby, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, told The Diplomat in a statement following the announcement. “Today’s notification is consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, and our support for Taiwan’s ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”
McKeeby stressed that the authorization followed previous arms sales by the administration totaling over $12 billion under the TRA, and that there is no change to the U.S.’ “one-China” policy. The Obama administration has been accused by some of dragging its feet on arms sales to Taiwan for fear of undermining U.S.-China relations.
Ahead of the announcement, China criticized the expected U.S. arms sale.
“We resolutely oppose sales of weaponry or military technology to Taiwan by any country in any form or using any excuse,” Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told reporters at a briefing earlier this week.