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CNN: Trump administration readies major arms sale to Taiwan (Second-Largest Taiwan Arms Sale Valued at $7 Billion)

Feb 22, 2017
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The deal is the second-largest weapons sale by the US to Taiwan and comes on top of some $15 billion in weapons already sold to Taiwan in the last four years.

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Washington (CNN)The Trump administration is expected to soon approve another major weapons sale including drones to Taiwan, according to congressional and administration sources. The move comes as the US and Taiwan are strengthening ties and amid mounting tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The US is preparing to sell seven packages of weapons systems to Taiwan, a congressional aide told CNN, saying it was unclear when the Congress would be formally notified about the sales, as is required by law.

A US official said that the administration will soon formally approve a large sale of MQ-9B Reaper drones. The value of the drones and associated equipment and program support is estimated to be about $600 million.

Two sources told CNN that the sale includes anti-ship missiles.
"As a matter of policy we do not comment on or confirm proposed defense sales or transfers until they have been formally notified to Congress," a State Department spokesperson said.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the proposed sale.

Washington has long provided arms to the island under the terms of the 40-year-old Taiwan Relations Act.

Beijing has frequently chafed at those sales, calling them a violation of China's sovereignty. The country's Communist government views Taiwan as part of its territory, though the two have been governed separately since the end of a bloody civil war in 1949.

But there has been an increase in arms sales to Taiwan during the Trump administration as the US has grown closer to the country.

The Trump administration has previously approved several major arms sales to Taiwan valued at more than $13 billion in total, including dozens of F-16 fighter jets, M1A2T Abrams tanks, portable Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and MK-48 Mod6 torpedoes.

"I would like to thank the US government for supporting the enhancement of Taiwan's self defense capabilities. in the past four years the Trump administration has approved seven arms sales package to Taiwan totaling $13.2 billion, looking ahead we will further develop and bolster indigenous defense and asymmetrical warfare capabilities," Taiwan's Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Tuesday during a virtual address to the Global Taiwan Institute Annual Symposium in Washington.

"Confronted with the Chinese communist regime, Taiwan is on the frontlines defending democracies," Wu added.
One congressional aide said said that "arms sales to Taiwan are not provocations, but a response to the (Chinese Communist Party's) growing belligerence."

Another high profile US visit

There have also been several high profile diplomatic visits by members of the Trump administration to Taipei, including by the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, the highest ranking cabinet official to visit the island in decades.

On Wednesday the State Department announced that the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach will travel to Taiwan to attend the memorial service for former President Lee Teng-hui on Saturday.

Krach will be the highest ranking State Department official to visit Taiwan in years.

China's leader, President Xi Jinping, has been said he aims to "reunify" the island with the mainland, and has refused to rule out the use of force, even though the ruling Chinese Communist Party has never actually controlled Taiwan.

Taiwanese officials have accused China of ramping up military activity near Taiwan in an effort to put pressure on Taipei, including flying Chinese fighter jets across the unofficial boundary dividing the Taiwan strait during Azar's visit to Taipei.

Taiwan is ramping up its defense spending as part of an effort to counter the threat from Beijing.

In 2019 Taiwan's defense budget was $10.9 billion compared to an official Chinese defense budget of $174 billion.

A recent Defense Department report on China's military said that China's military modernization efforts has helped it make strides in overcoming the challenges of mounting an invasion of Taiwan while noting that Taipei is also seeking to improve its military posture to enable it to ward off any attack.

The US has long sought to get Taiwan to invest in systems that would provide it an asymmetric advantage over an invading Chinese force as opposed to more conventional systems like battle tanks that can be more easily targeted in an initial offensive salvo.

And while the Trump administration has pushed to boost arms sales to Taiwan it is unclear whether that policy would continue should former Vice President Joe Biden win the election in November.

The Obama administration also sold arms to Taiwan but resisted selling some systems, including upgraded F-16 fighter jets, a sale that the Trump administration went on to approve.

 
Feb 22, 2017
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Exclusive: U.S. pushes arms sales surge to Taiwan, needling China - sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems, including mines, cruise missiles and drones to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

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Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which U.S. military sales to the island were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing.

But the Trump administration has become more aggressive with China in 2020 and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, a lingering trade war and disputes about the spread of the novel coronavirus.

At the same time Taiwan's desire to buy weapons increased after President Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected here in January and has made strengthening Taiwan's defenses a top priority.

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue. Beijing says it is a Chinese province, and has denounced the Trump administration’s support for the island.

Washington has been eager to create a military counterbalance to Chinese forces, building on an effort known within the Pentagon as “Fortress Taiwan”, as Beijing’s military makes increasingly aggressive moves in the region.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the reported package was a “media assumption,” and that it handled weapons purchase talks and assessments in a low-key, confidential way, so could not offer public comment until there was a formal U.S. notification of any sales to Congress.

Taiwan’s military is well-trained and well-equipped with mostly U.S.-made hardware, but China has a huge numerical superiority and is adding advanced equipment of its own.

The weapons packages from Lockheed Martin Co LMT.N, Boeing BA.N and General Atomics are moving their way through the export process, three people familiar with the status of the deals on Capitol Hill said, and a notification to Congress is expected within weeks.

One industry source said President Donald Trump was slated to be briefed on the packages this week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Some of the deals had been requested by Taiwan more than a year ago, but are only now being moved through the approval process. A State Department spokesman declined comment.

A senior U.S. official, citing Chinese assertiveness in the Taiwan Strait, said: “There is no equilibrium today. It is out of balance. And I think that is dangerous.”

Trump's White House has made an here effort to export weapons to U.S. allies trying to bolster their defenses, decrease dependence on U.S. troops while boosting U.S. companies and jobs.

As he fights for re-election on Nov. 3, Trump and Republican supporters have ramped up their rhetoric against Beijing and sought to portray Democratic opponent Joe Biden as soft on China.


Other factors include Taiwan’s bigger defense budget, and the fear in Taiwan that if Trump loses, Biden would be less willing to sell the U.S.’s most advanced weapons to them.

Taiwan’s interest in U.S. weapons and equipment is not new. The island is bolstering its defenses in the face of what it sees as increasingly threatening moves by Beijing, such as regular Chinese air force and naval exercises near Taiwan.

The senior U.S. official said Taiwan’s increased defense spending was a good step, but it had to do more.

“Taiwan, frankly, needs to do more in order to ensure that they indigenously have an ability to deter Chinese aggression,” the official said.

DEALS
Drones that can see over the horizon for surveillance and targeting, coupled with advanced missiles and coastal defenses that include smart mines and anti-submarine capabilities to impede a sea invasion, have been discussed at the highest levels to make Taiwan more difficult to attack, like a “porcupine”, according to industry and congressional sources.


A Lockheed Martin-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), essentially a truck-based rocket launcher, is among the weapons Taiwan wants, people familiar with the negotiations said. Taiwan also seeks to buy sophisticated anti-tank missiles.

In early August, Reuters reported that Washington is negotiating the sale of at least four of its large sophisticated aerial drones to Taiwan for what could be about $600 million.

Also under discussion are land-based Boeing-made Harpoon anti-ship missiles to serve as a coastal defense against cruise missiles.

Other systems include "underwater sea mines and other capabilities to deter amphibious landing, or immediate attack," Taiwan's de facto ambassador here to United States said in July.

 
Feb 22, 2017
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U.S. Pushes Large Arms Sale to Taiwan, Including Jet Missiles That Can Hit China

The administration is proposing the packages as President Trump’s strategists try to paint him as being tough on China despite soft actions earlier.

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is pushing the sale of seven large packages of weapons to Taiwan, including long-range missiles that would allow Taiwanese jets to hit distant Chinese targets in the event of a conflict, say officials familiar with the proposals.

If approved by Congress, the packages, valued in the billions, would be one of the largest weapons transfers in recent years to Taiwan. The administration plans to informally notify lawmakers of the sales within weeks.

By law, the United States government is required to provide weapons of a defensive nature to Taiwan, a self-governing, democratic island. China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, has escalated its military activity near the island after Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, won re-election in January by beating a candidate viewed as friendlier to Beijing.

The proposed sales come as President Trump and his campaign strategists try to paint him as tough on China in the run-up to the election in November. They are eager to divert the conversation among American voters away from Mr. Trump’s vast failures on the coronavirus pandemic and the economy, and to paper over his constant praise for Xi Jinping, China’s authoritarian leader, and his earlier encouragement or tolerance of some of Mr. Xi’s most repressive policies, including in the regions of Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

Some administration officials see bolstering Taiwan as an important part of creating a broader military counterweight to China in Asia. Taiwan has strong bipartisan support in Congress, so administration officials expect lawmakers to approve the arms sales.

Relations between the United States and China have plummeted to their lowest point in decades, as the two nations openly challenge each other on a wide range of issues, including trade, technology, diplomatic relations and military dominance of Asia.

The most sensitive weapon system of the proposed packages to Taiwan is an air-to-ground missile, the AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, made by Boeing. Because of its range, it can be fired by jets flying beyond the reach of China’s air defense system. The missiles could hit targets on the Chinese mainland or at sea, including warships trying to cross the Taiwan Strait. The proposed sale of the missile, which is likely to cause concern among Chinese military officials, has not been previously reported.

The missiles can be used with F-16 fighter jets that the United States has sold Taiwan. The Trump administration announced last year that it was selling to Taiwan 66 such jets at $8 billion, one of the single largest arms packages to the island in many years.

Officials said the current proposed sales include surveillance drones that are an unarmed version of the Reaper model made by General Atomics; a truck-based rocket artillery system made by Lockheed Martin; land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles from Boeing; and sea mines. Reuters reported aspects of the packages on Wednesday.

“The U.S. is increasingly concerned that deterrence is weakening as Chinese military capabilities grow,” said Bonnie S. Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The items in this package will help increase Taiwan’s ability to prevent a Chinese invasion — essentially to hold out longer.”

But, she said: “Weapons procurements are only one part of that equation. The U.S. is also urging Taiwan to rebuild its reserves and conduct more real-world training.”

China traditionally denounces arms sales to Taiwan, and it could send a warning by increasing the intensity of exercises the People’s Liberation Army conducts in the area. Last month, it fired a barrage of medium-range missiles into the South China Sea during a series of military exercises, and on Wednesday, it sent two anti-submarine aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

China might also announce sanctions against the American companies involved in the proposed sales. In July, it said it would penalize Lockheed Martin after the Trump administration had announced it was approving a $620 million arms package to Taiwan that involved upgrades by the company to surface-to-air missiles. But Lockheed Martin barely does any business with China and has supplied weapons and defense equipment to Taiwan for many years.

If China imposed sanctions on Boeing, however, that could deal a blow to the company, which sells commercial jets to the country.

Evan S. Medeiros, a professor at Georgetown University who was a senior Asia director on the National Security Council in the Obama administration, said China might impose sanctions on a few companies, “but strategically they are focused on preserving stability in U.S.-China relations right now.”

Mr. Medeiros and other American officials have pressed Taiwanese officials over the past decade to buy weapons that would enhance deterrence and increase the island military’s abilities to hold off Chinese forces in a meaningful way. In June 2019, the Trump administration, at the request of Taiwanese officials, proposed a $2 billion package of arms that included 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks. Those sales have been widely criticized by U.S. experts on the Chinese military, who say the tanks would not be of great use in the event of an invasion by the People’s Liberation Army.

With the current proposed sales, though, “Taiwan is finally buying what it really needs to implement its asymmetric defense strategy,” Mr. Medeiros said. “It’s a bit tardy to this garden party, but Taiwan’s leaders are finally committing serious resources.”
Some of the biggest proponents of strengthening
Taiwan’s military are in the White House. Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, and Matthew Pottinger, his deputy, are advocates of this. Mr. O’Brien’s predecessor, John R. Bolton, has gone further, pushing for the United States to formally recognize Taiwan.

Administration officials are reluctant to take that step, but they do aim to bolster Taiwan’s diplomatic standing in the world. In March, officials persuaded Mr. Trump to sign the bipartisan Taipei Act passed by Congress, which commits Washington to helping Taiwan improve its international status. On Thursday, Keith J. Krach, the under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, arrived in Taiwan to attend a memorial service for Lee Teng-hui, a former president.

Last month, Alex M. Azar II, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, met in Taipei with Ms. Tsai, in the highest-level visit by an American official to the island since Washington broke off formal diplomatic relations in 1979.

Taiwanese officials hope that a new economic dialogue with the United States will result in a free-trade agreement.

 

Globenim

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Congrats! PLA will inherit all these weapons once Taiwan falls to China.
They are just dumping old, downgraded and bugged junk on Taiwan. The real goal is milking Taiwan hard before its ineviteable fall and Taiwans officials are willingly emptying to pockets of the average people who have no interest in dying for Americas hegemony to secure themself visas and job security in America before they run away like its their tradition.
 

HalfMoon

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Nov 21, 2018
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They are just selling old, downgraded and bugged junk. Taiwan is getting milked hard before its ineviteable fall and Taiwans officials are emptying to pockets of the average people who have no interest in dying for Americas hegemony to secure themself visas and job security in America.
Taiwanese do not even want to join their military to fight the PLA. That sums it all.

US will sell arms to make money but when PLA arrives in Taiwan, US will be no where to be seen just like what happened in Hong Kong.
 

CAPRICORN-88

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Aug 19, 2015
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USA is missing the forest because of a tree.
Now we know USA is declining real fast.
For only a mere USD7 billion.

And Taiwan is even more stupid enough to buy all these useless weapon. :coffee:
 

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