US approves $619 million in arms exports to Taiwan It also includes missiles for F-16 fighter jets, which Taiwan’s air force intends to use to defend itself against Chinese aircraft. These have recently invaded Taiwan’s airspace several times.
Washington has several hundred missiles, including F-16 fighter jets, launch and control systems and other equipment, according to the Pentagon. “The proposed sale will contribute to the recipient’s ability to protect its airspace, territorial security and interoperability with the United States.”
Since 1979, the U.S. has committed itself to the island’s Democratic Republic’s ability to defend itself, most notably arms supplies, angering the Chinese leadership. Beijing considers Taiwan only part of the People’s Republic and threatens to annex it. On the other hand, the government in Taipei has long considered the island independent.
Taiwan’s defense ministry thanked the planned weapons supply to help the air force defend its airspace against Chinese aircraft. The deal comes amid heightened tensions and increased deployments of the Chinese navy and air force near Taiwan.
On Tuesday and Wednesday alone, three dozen Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s Air Surveillance Zone (ADIZ), according to the Ministry of Defense in Taipei.
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