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‘Wait and See’: China Vows Strong Response as U.S. Prepares to Arm Taiwan

China has long called for an end to arms sales to the island, over which it asserts a historical claim and has vowed to seize—by force if necessary.
A U.S.-made Patriot missile is fired from a mobile missile battery on a beach during Taiwan’s annual Han Kuang military exercise on July 20, 2006, in Yilan, Taiwan. On February 7, 2022, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the State Department’s approval for Taiwan to purchase a $100 million support package for its existing Patriot missile defense systems. SAM YEH/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
A U.S.-made Patriot missile is fired from a mobile missile battery on a beach during Taiwan’s annual Han Kuang military exercise on July 20, 2006, in Yilan, Taiwan. On February 7, 2022, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the State Department’s approval for Taiwan to purchase a $100 million support package for its existing Patriot missile defense systems. SAM YEH/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

China has demanded the United States revoke a possible arms agreement with Taiwan in support of its Patriot missile systems—a deal Washington believes will improve the island’s security and help maintain political stability.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington. D.C, requested the purchase of equipment and services worth $100 million over five years, said the Pentagon‘s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

Congress was notified of the State Department‘s approval on Monday.

Taiwan’s armed forces operate a number of the American-made, surface-to-air and anti-ballistic missile systems, whose sole purpose is to deter and intercept Chinese aircraft and projectiles in the event of a conflict across the Taiwan Strait. The foreign military sale—the first involving Taiwan this year and the second under the Biden administration—will “sustain, maintain, and improve the Patriot Air Defense System,” according to DSCA’s statement.

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