The White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending in recent days a notification of the deals to the US Congress for approval, five sources familiar with the situation said on Monday.
Asked about the report, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington said it had no comment.
The news broke last month that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the US export process, as US President Donald Trump’s administration increases pressure on China.
Leaders of the foreign affairs committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the US Department of State, which oversees foreign military sales, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The informal notifications were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations.
Notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines, to deter amphibious landings, have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said.
“As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress,” a State Department spokesman said.
Congress’ foreign affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.
US lawmakers, who are generally wary of what they perceive as Chinese aggression and supportive of Taiwan, were not expected to object to the arms sales.
News that new arms sales were moving forward came after senior US officials last week repeated calls for Taiwan to spend more on its own defense and carry out military reforms to make clear to China the risks of attempting to invade.
It comes at a time when China has significantly stepped up military activity near Taiwan and as US-China relations have plunged to the lowest point in decades ahead of the US presidential election.
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday said that the government had not received official notice of the arms sale, but would explain relevant details to the public once Washington informs the Legislative Yuan.
The government would continue to deepen the secure friendship that it has with the US amid China’s increasing efforts to disrupt regional security across the Taiwan Strait, the ministry added.
In Beijing, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that it would make a “legitimate and necessary” response to additional US arms sales to Taiwan.
The US should immediately halt all weapons sales to Taiwan, ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) told a daily news briefing.
Additional reporting by Dennis Xie
HIGH-RISK GROUP: After the latest outbreak, family members of workers exposed to infection would from tomorrow be eligible for government-funded vaccines The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four local COVID-19 cases: three family members of an infected worker at a quarantine hotel and a family member of an infected pilot. The new cases bring the number of infections involving China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) pilots and the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, where many of the airline’s crew members quarantined, to 24. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said three of them are the husband, son and daughter of case No. 1,129, a woman in her 60s, who works at the hotel. The son is in
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and
TAKING NOTICE: In the first time that G7 foreign ministers have mentioned Taiwan in a joint communique, they called for ‘peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait’ The Presidential Office yesterday thanked the G7 foreign ministers for their strong support of Taiwan after the group in its joint statement on Wednesday called for the nation’s participation in the WHO, and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The ministers in a communique issued at the end of their three-day meeting declared support for “Taiwan’s meaningful participation” in WHO forums and the World Health Assembly (WHA). “The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan’s successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. The statement included a section