China Threatens Counter Measures As US Approves Possible Sale Of Over $1Bln In Military Equipment To Taiwan

The Chinese Embassy in Washington told Sputnik that China opposes the newly approved $1.1 billion US arms sale package to Taiwan and will take necessary counter-measures.

“China is firmly opposed to this,” Chinese Embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu said on Friday when asked about the arms package, which includes anti-ship and air-to-air missiles. “China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation.”

The spokesperson added that the United States interferes in China’s internal affairs and undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests by selling arms to the Taiwan region.

Earlier, Washington approved the sale of $1.1 billion in military equipment, including Harpoon and Sidewinder missiles, to Taiwan, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DCSA) said in a series of statements.

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The US State Department approved an estimated $355 million sale of Harpoon Block II Missiles and related equipment to Taiwan in order to modernize the island’s defense capabilities and serve US security interests, DSCA said on Friday.

The State Department also made a determination approving the sale of Block II Sidewinder Missiles and related equipment at an estimated cost of $85.6 million, according to DCSA. The possible sale of $665.4 million in Surveillance Radar Program support and equipment was also approved, DCSA added.

The proposed sales will not alter the basic military balance in the region, DCSA also said. The proposed sales come amid increased tension between Washington and Beijing over a contentious trip to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Harpoons are anti-ship homing missiles produced by Boeing with littoral-water capabilities. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) requested to buy 60 of the missiles and related equipment.

Sidewinders are air-to-air missiles developed by Raytheon with the ability to lock on to targets after launch. TECRO requested to buy 100 of the missiles along with related equipment.

TECRO also requested to purchase Contractor Logistics Support for their Surveillance Radar Program, which would improve the island’s situational awareness and threat warning capabilities, according to DCSA. Raytheon would be the principal contractor of the sale.

Meanwhile,  citing US defense officials, WSJ reported that the US would accelerate arms sales to allies and partners by removing several bureaucratic road bumps that could cause delays in order to better compete with countries such as China.

The report said on Friday that the Defense Department launched an initiative to streamline US arms sales to foreign countries, especially to allies and partners that have provided military equipment to Ukraine.

The United States promised European allies who have provided military equipment to Ukraine that it would be able to replenish their stocks, but the US defense industry is facing a backlog, the report said.

The United States could speed up arms sales by having US defense officials help countries draft initial requests for military equipment that would help avoid delays caused by requests that trigger security concerns, the report said.

The Defense Department only approves contracts once a year for certain military equipment, which means countries that fail to submit their orders by the Defense Department’s deadline must wait until the following year, the report added.

However, the State Department is currently consulting with the Defense Department on this matter in light of the mission to speed up arms sales to allies, according to the report.