The US has cleared a US$1.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan

The China Post with CNA

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The U.S. government has approved a US$1.42 billion arms sale to Taiwan — the first of the Trump administration.

The deal, which will take effect within a month, covers eight items Taiwan asked for last year, which are expected to enhance the country’s air and navy defense system, as well as early warning capabilities, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

The items include MK48 heavyweight torpedoes, high-speed anti-radiation missiles, AN/SLQ-32(V) electronic warfare shipboard suite upgrades and SM-2 missile components.

The MND said it will discuss with the U.S. the exact number of weapons, their price and a delivery schedule.

President Tsai Ing-wen took to Twitter to thank U.S. lawmakers who helped with the sale’s passage.

Two Days, Two Wins for Taiwan

The sale’s approval came just a day after a U.S. Senate committee OK’d a bill that would allow U.S. navy ships to make stops at ports in Taiwan, in what would be a major change in U.S. policy.

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 21-6 across party lines in favor of “regular ports of call by the U.S. Navy at Kaohsiung or any other suitable ports in Taiwan and permits U.S. Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwan.”

The bill, which still needs to be ratified by Congress, would roll back four decades of U.S. policy in Asia.

‘Maintaining peace’

The Defense Ministry said Friday that the deal would help maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait, and it thanked the U.S. for its support.

The deal is based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the Six Assurances, the ministry said.

The TRA was enacted in 1979 by the U.S. Congress to maintain commercial, cultural and other unofficial relations between the U.S. and Taiwan after Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. The act also requires the U.S. “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.”

The Six Assurances given to Taiwan in 1982 by then U.S. President Ronald Reagan include pledges by the U.S. not to set a date to end arms sales to Taiwan, not to hold prior consultations with China regarding arms sales to Taiwan and not to play a mediation role between Taiwan and China.

They also include assurances that the U.S. will not revise the TRA, alter its position regarding Taiwan’s sovereignty, or pressure Taiwan to enter into negotiations with China.