The United States
on Friday approved an arms package worth USD 1.1 billion to Taiwan
. The development came amid soaring tension between Washington and Beijing
over Taiwan. The arms package was announced almost a month after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island.
Pelosi’s visit infuriated China
. After her visit, China started a military drill around Taiwan. The arms package announced on Friday was the largest arms aim approved under the Joe Biden Administration. It includes USD 665 million for contractor support to maintain and upgrade a Raytheon early radar warning system, reported AFP.
The radar system has been in operation since 2013. It warns Taiwan of an incoming attack. The self-governing island will also spend USD 335 million to buy 60 Harpoon Block II missiles
. These missiles can track and sink incoming vessels in case of any attack.
Over 100 Sidewinder missiles worth USD 85.6 million are also part of the package. The announcement came a day after Taiwan shot down an unidentified commercial drone. Notably, China considered Taiwan as part of its territory and threatened to annex the island by force if necessary.
China called on the US to immediately revoke the arms sales to Taiwan. “It sends wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and severely jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” said Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, as quoted by AFP.
Last week, US Senator Marsha Blackburn also visited Taiwan. It was the fourth visit by an American politician this month to the self-ruled island. Notably, Beijing considers visits by foreign officials to Taiwan as recognising its sovereignty.