United States approved a $100 million sale to Taiwan to improve its Patriot missile defence system
Taiwan has been pushed by US authorities to modernize its military so that it may become a "porcupine" that is difficult to assault by China
The Pentagon announced on Monday that the US has cleared a potential $100 million sale of equipment and services to Taiwan to "sustain, maintain, and improve" the Patriot missile defence system employed by the self-ruled island claimed by China.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement that it had delivered the appropriate certification notifying Congress following State Department permission for the sale, which Taiwan's de facto embassy in Washington had requested.
The DSCA said in a statement that upgrades to the Patriot Air Defense System will "help improve the recipient's security and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, economic and progress in the region." "This proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernise its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability," the agency said.
Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin would be the key contractors, according to the report.
The decision was "extremely welcomed" by Taiwan's Foreign Ministry. "In the face of China's continued military expansion and provocative actions, our country will maintain its national security with a solid defense, and continue to deepen the close security partnership between Taiwan and the United States," it said in a statement.
The decision to acquire updated Patriot missiles was decided during a 2019 meeting with US officials in President Donald Trump's administration, according to Taiwan's Defense Ministry. The agreement is likely to "come into effect" within a month, according to the ministry.
The democratically-governed island has complained about Chinese air force flights in its air defence zone, which Washington believes is part of Beijing's campaign to convince Taipei to recognise its sovereignty.
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