The U.S. State Department has greenlighted the sales of aircraft parts worth up to $428 million dollars to Taiwan to improve its Air Force in the face of China’s threat. The U.S. said that the arms sale would happen in a month.
Even though Taiwan’s air force is well-equipped, it is old and not as good as China’s. Over the past three years, China’s military planes flew close to Taiwan almost on a daily basis as it increased its military threat against the island.
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in early August, China held large-scale military exercises around it. Its air force often crossed the “Taiwan Strait median line” – the unofficial border between Taiwan and mainland China.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Wednesday, December 7, that China is “normalizing” its “paramilitary operations” around Taiwan. This limits Taiwan’s ability to train and respond in the sea and airspace.
Although having no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but with “Taiwan Relations Act” and the “Six Guarantees,” the U.S. provides Taiwan with arms to self-protect. In fact, the US is Taiwan’s most important international arms supplier.
This latest arms deal from the U.S. to Taiwan would be the sixth time this year and the seventh time in total for the Biden administration.
In two statements on Tuesday, December 6, the Pentagon said the parts could be used to support Taiwan’s F-16 fighter jets, Indigenous Defence Fighter jets, and any other U.S. – based aircraft, weapons, or subsystems. The statement reads:
“The proposed sale will contribute to the sustainment of the recipient’s aerial fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats while providing defensive and transport capabilities critical to regional security.”