The United States has approved a $620 million upgrade package for Patriot surface-to-air missiles to Taiwan, the State Department said on Thursday.
Taiwan has requested to buy components to upgrade its Patriot missiles “in order to support an operational life of 30 years, the department said, adding that Lockheed Martin will be the main contractor.
The two governments do not have official diplomatic ties, but the US is bound by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself, angering China which routinely denounces US arms sales to Taiwan.
“This proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernise its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability. The recipient will use this capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen homeland defence. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces”, the department said.
“This arms sale is the 7th by the Trump administration to Taiwan so far, fully demonstrating the importance attached to our national defence security, consolidating our security partnership with the United States, and jointly maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region”, Taiwan’s defence ministry said.
Taiwan has never declared independence, but it has its own foreign ministry and military. China regularly pressures Taiwan with military exercises in its vicinity and refuses diplomatic relations with countries that recognise Taiwan.