US announces $2.4 bn sale of coastal defense systems to Taiwan

The United States announced Monday that it had cleared a $ 2.4 billion sale of 100 Harpoon coastal defense systems to Taiwan. This is sure to upset Beijing after Washington's $ 1 billion missile deal with the self-governing island last week.
The proposed sale of the harpoon systems "will help improve the security of the recipient and maintain political stability, military balance ... and progress in the region," a State Department statement said.
The deal includes 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDS), including 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles with a maximum range of 125 kilometers.
The rockets manufactured by Boeing can be positioned on fixed platforms or mounted on trucks.
Democratic and self-governing Taiwan lives under constant threat from authoritarian China, whose leaders regard the island as part of their territory.
They vowed to take the island one day, if necessary by force.
Related: Taiwan broadcasts laser shows at night before the national day
Taiwan broadcasts nightly laser shows before National Day
The Taiwanese Presidential Palace kicks off nightly laser light shows ahead of the National Day celebrations on October 10th. The theme of this year's shows is "Confident Island, Greet the Sunrise" and shows the island's successes, particularly in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Beijing has increased diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who regards the island as a de facto sovereign nation rather than part of "one China".
Chinese warplanes and bombers have entered Taiwan's air defense zone with increasing frequency in recent months, while propaganda films showed simulated attacks on Taiwanese territories.
Last Wednesday, the US announced that it had approved the sale of 135 AGM-84H SLAM-ER precision-guided air-launched cruise missiles valued at $ 1 billion - which, unlike the harpoon, have a range greater than that Width of the cross strait that connects the island from mainland China.
In response, Beijing said Monday it would impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, a defense division of Boeing, and other US firms involved in arms sales.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the sanctions were "in order to safeguard national interests" and apply to those who "misbehaved in the process of selling arms to Taiwan."
Zhao did not provide any further details about the sanctions.
Under President Donald Trump's administration, the US brought Taiwan into play as part of a larger diplomatic and economic bottleneck against rival China, sending high-level envoys and boosting arms sales.
sl / acb / ft

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