Thursday, March 2, 2023

$619 million will go to Taiwan's military US armaments increase as China maintains pressure

Taiwan military to get $619 million US arms boost as China keeps up pressure

 TAIPEI: Taiwan has reported a second day of large-scale Chinese air force incursions nearby, and the United States has given its approval to the potential sale of new weapons worth $619 million to the island, including missiles for its F-16 fleet.

The arms sales are likely to worsen already-tense relations between Washington and Beijing. Beijing has repeatedly demanded that these deals stop because it sees them as unjustified support for Taiwan, an island that China claims as its own.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon said that the US State Department has approved the sale of 200 anti-aircraft Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) to Taiwan.

It stated in a statement that "the proposed sale will contribute to the recipient's capability to provide for the defense of its airspace, regional security, and interoperability with the United States."

It also stated that Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies are the primary contractors. Both businesses have been sanctioned by China for selling weapons to Taiwan.

For roughly the past three years, Taiwan has voiced its displeasure with Beijing's efforts to assert its sovereignty claims by intensifying its military activities near the island.

On Thursday, Taiwan reported a second day of large-scale Chinese air force incursions into its air defense identification zone. The defense ministry reported spotting 21 aircraft in the last 24 hours.

Despite Taipei's outrage, China has claimed that it is justified in its actions in the area to protect its territorial integrity and warn the United States against "colluding" with Taiwan.

A map released by the defense ministry of Taiwan indicated that the aircraft—17 J-10 fighters and four J-16 fighters—had entered the southwest corner of Taiwan's air defense identification zone.

The map indicated that the J-16s, a much newer and more advanced fighter, flew northeast of the Pratas Islands controlled by Taiwan, while the J-10s, an older model that entered service two decades ago, flew closer to the Chinese coast than Taiwan's.

Many of China's flybys take place close to the lightly defended Pratas, which are strategically positioned at the top of the South China Sea.

The ministry went on to say that Taiwan's forces monitored the situation and even sent their own planes up there. This is how Taiwan usually responds to Chinese incursions.

On Wednesday, the ministry said that 19 Chinese planes were flying in the air defense zone of Taiwan.

Although China's air force has been flying over the Taiwan Strait almost daily since staging war games near Taiwan in August, none of the aircraft crossed the sensitive median line, which has served as an unofficial barrier between the two sides.

On Friday, 10 Chinese planes were involved in a large median line crossing, according to Taiwan.

China hasn't said anything about the recent events near Taiwan. China stated in January that it would "resolutely counter the provocative actions of external forces and Taiwan independence separatist forces" by staging combat drills all over the island.

The Chinese aircraft were flying in Taiwan's ADIZ, not its territorial airspace, and there have been no gunshots fired.

Taiwan has more time to respond to any threats because it monitors and patrols a larger area known as the ADIZ.

The government of Taiwan has repeatedly offered to talk to China, but it insists that the island will defend itself in the event of an attack and that the Taiwanese people alone can decide their own future.

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