03:55 - Source: CNN
Analysts warn of intensifying arms race across Asia (November, 2021)
CNN  — 

The United States has approved the possible sale to Taiwan of military equipment and services, including engineering services to support the Patriot missile defense system, for an estimated cost of $100 million, according to a statement released Monday by the Defense Department.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States had requested to buy the equipment and services to support its participation in the International Engineering Services Program and Field Surveillance Program for five years, which are designed to “sustain, maintain, and improve” the defense system, the statement said.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said they had delivered the required certification notifying Congress of the possible sale on Monday.

“This proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” a statement from DSCA said.

It added the sale “will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, economic and progress in the region.”

An MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system stands on display at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, South Korea, in October 2015.

Taiwan said Tuesday they had received official notification from the US government of the approval for the sale, according to a statement issued by Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Taiwan “highly welcomes” the decision and expressed its gratitude to the US government for its “commitment to Taiwan’s security,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement said.

“Facing China’s continuous military expansion and provocation, we will steadfastly protect national security, and deepen Taiwan-US security partnership,” the statement added.

Taiwan and mainland China have been separately governed since the Nationalists retreated to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war more than 70 years ago. Taiwan is now a flourishing democracy, but the mainland’s ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to view the self-governing island as an inseparable part of its territory – despite having never controlled it.

Today, relations between Taipei and Beijing are at their lowest point in decades, as China has not ruled out the use of force to take control of the island.

This is the second time that the Biden administration has announced an arms sale to Taiwan. Last August, the Biden administration informed Congress of a proposed $750 million sale.

The United States has provided arms to the island under the terms of the decades-old Taiwan Relations Act, and there is bipartisan support in Congress for supplying Taiwan with weapons.