World Politics

U.S. State Department approves $2.37 billion more in potential arms sales to Taiwan, Pentagon says

Key Points
  • The move comes days after the State Department approved the potential sale of three other weapons systems to Taiwan, including sensors, missiles and artillery that could have a total value of $1.8 billion, which prompted a sanctions threat from China.
  • On Monday in Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told reporters China will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, Raytheon and other U.S. companies it says are involved in Washington's arms sales to Taiwan.
Four US-made F-16 fighter jets cross the sky during a drill near the Suao navy harbour in Yilan, eastern Taiwan, on April 13, 2018.
Sam Yeh | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan in a deal that has a potential value of up to $2.37 billion, the Pentagon said on Monday.

The move comes days after the State Department approved the potential sale of three other weapons systems to Taiwan, including sensors, missiles and artillery that could have a total value of $1.8 billion, which prompted a sanctions threat from China.

On Monday in Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told reporters China will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, Raytheon and other U.S. companies it says are involved in Washington's arms sales to Taiwan.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement, "We deplore Beijing's efforts to retaliate against U.S. and foreign companies for their sales that support Taiwan's legitimate self-defense requirements."

Monday's formal notifications to Congress by the State Department covered the proposed sale of up to 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDS), which includes 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles to serve as coastal defense cruise missiles.

Last week, the State Department sent notifications to Capitol Hill for the first tranche of arms sales which included truck-based rocket launchers made by Lockheed, Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) missiles and related equipment made by Boeing, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets.

Reuters was first to report in September that sales of major weapons systems to Taiwan were making their way through the U.S. export process.

The formal notification gives Congress 30 days to object to any sales, but this is unlikely given broad bipartisan support for the defense of Taiwan.

The U.S. moves come as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China in the runup to the Nov. 3 presidential election and concerns rise about Beijing's intentions toward Taiwan. Beijing sees Taiwan as a renegade province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.