Home Civilian based defense US approves air defense upgrade for Taiwan as COVID-19 nixes report Pelosi...

US approves air defense upgrade for Taiwan as COVID-19 nixes report Pelosi visit


Chinese military aircraft enter the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone almost daily, according to the Taiwan Ministry of Defense. (Wikimedia Commons)

The United States has approved a $95 million military sale to bolster Taiwan’s air defenses as China sends increasing numbers of warplanes near the island’s democracy.

Details of a contract to support “the training, planning, fielding, deployment, operation, maintenance and sustainment of the Patriot Air Defense System” in Taiwan were released by the National Intelligence Agency on Tuesday. defense security cooperation.

Chinese military aircraft enter the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone almost daily, according to data released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense.

Over the past few months, 250 Chinese planes have entered the island area, double the number in the same period last year, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Thursday. An Air Defense Identification Zone, which generally extends beyond a country’s airspace, is an area defined by that country to control and identify approaching aircraft.

“This sale proposal serves the national, economic, and security interests of the United States by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and maintain a credible defensive capability,” the Agency said. defense in its press release.

Raytheon Technologies, which makes the Patriot system, referred questions about the sale to the US and Taiwan governments.

The Chinese Communist Party views Taiwan as a renegade province that must eventually be politically unified with the mainland.

The United States continues to help Taiwan maintain sufficient self-defense capabilities, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement posted on its website following the US announcement.

“This arms sale shows that the United States attaches great importance to [Taiwan’s] national defense and security,” the statement said. “The two sides will continue to consolidate the security partnership and jointly maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region.”

China will take “firm and robust measures” to protect its sovereignty and security interests, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

US arms sales to Taiwan “seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, and seriously damage China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”, he said, according to a transcript of the press conference. “China rejects and deplores this.”

Taiwan’s latest upgrade, which received its first Patriots in 1997, shows the United States’ commitment to helping nations develop defense capabilities, the Alexandria-based Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance said Wednesday. Virginia, in a press release. The group lobbies for missile defence, deployment and development.

Meanwhile, a reported visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to be postponed. She tested positive for the coronavirus, her office said in a statement Thursday.

The president’s deputy communications director, Drew Hammill, tweeted on Friday that a congressional delegation to Asia, which Pelosi was to lead, “will be postponed to a later date.”

Pelosi had planned to visit the island on Sunday after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, according to a Friday report citing unnamed Fuji News Network sources.

China would respond with “resolute and forceful action” if Pelosi were to visit Taiwan, the official Global Times newspaper reported on Friday.

The last visit to Taiwan by a House speaker was in 1997, that of Newt Gingrich, said Norah Huang, director of international relations at the Prospect Foundation, a security and foreign affairs think tank in Taipei.

“Pelosi has a long history of standing up for democracy and human rights,” she told Stars and Stripes in an email on Friday. “She helped young activists involved in the 1989 student movement to leave China and advocated for support for democracies throughout her career.”

A visit by the president to Taiwan would amplify support for democracy and opposition to authoritarian regimes and human rights abuses, Huang said.

This would be particularly important “in the context of the acute manifestation of atrocities by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, the repression of civil rights in Hong Kong and the growing aggressiveness of [China] in the Taiwan Strait,” she said.