US agrees to $1bn arms sale to Taiwan as tensions rise with China

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is set to announce a more than $1 billion arms sale to Taiwan on Friday as U.S.-China tensions escalate over the status of the island, according to U.S. officials and a congressional aide briefed on the matter.

The $1.09 billion sale includes $355 million for Harpoon air-to-sea missiles and $85 million for Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, officials and the aide said.

They said the bulk of the sale, however, is a $655 million logistics support package for Taiwan’s surveillance radar program, which provides air defense warnings. Early warning air defense systems have become more important as China has stepped up military exercises near Taiwan, which it considers a renegade province.

The administration must notify Congress of the sale after business closes Friday, they said.

The administration is expected to declare that the agreements are consistent with the US one-China policy and consistent with US commitments to the defense of Taiwan.

The acrimony and strident rhetoric between the United States and China over Taiwan has risen sharply since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island last month. Since Pelosi’s trip to Taipei, there have been at least two other visits by Congress and several by US state governors, all of which China has condemned.

On Thursday, the Taiwanese military said it shot down a drone hovering over one of its island outposts just off the coast of China in an incident that underscored heightened tensions. A day earlier, Taiwan said it warned of drones flying over three of the islands it occupies off the Chinese port city of Xiamen.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory, to be annexed by force if necessary. The sides split after a civil war in 1949 and have no official relations, with China even cutting off informal contact after pro-independence Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was elected in 2016.

Tsai’s administration has pushed for stronger anti-drone defenses as part of a 12.9% increase in its Defense Ministry’s annual budget next year. This would increase defense spending by 47.5 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.6 billion), for a total of NTD 415.1 billion ($13.8 billion).

The United States described the Chinese exercises last month as a serious overreaction and responded by sailing two missile cruisers through the Taiwan Strait, which China has declared to be its sovereign waters.

The article is in French

. United States accept a sale weapons billion dollars Taiwan so tensions increase with China

. agrees #1bn arms sale Taiwan tensions rise China

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