The US State Department has approved a potential sale to Taiwan of 100 Boeing Harpoon coastal defense systems in a deal that has a potential value of up to $ 2.37 billion, the Pentagon said Monday.
The move came just days after the State Department approved a potential sale to Taiwan of three other weapons systems, including sensors, missiles and artillery, which could cost a total of $ 1.8 billion, posing a threat of sanctions from China.
China will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin LMT.N, Boeing Defense, Raytheon RTX.N and other US companies reportedly involved in Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Monday.
“We regret Beijing’s attempts to retaliate against US and foreign companies for their sales, which support Taiwan’s legitimate self-defense needs,” US State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
Official notices to Congress from the State Department on Monday related to the proposed sale of up to 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDS), including 400 Harpoon Block II surface-launched RGM-84L-4 missiles, which will be used as missiles from the cruising coastal defense.
Taiwan said the arms sales show that protecting the island is of “great importance” to the US government.
“In the face of Chinese expansion and military provocation, Taiwan will continue to improve its defense capabilities and build up its asymmetric warfare capabilities,” the statement said.
Last week, the Department of State sent notices to Capitol Hill for the sale of the first tranche of weapons, including cargo missile launchers manufactured by Lockheed, Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) and related equipment manufactured by Boeing Co. BAH and external sensor compartment for F-16 aircraft.
In September, Reuters was the first to report that sales of major weapons systems in Taiwan are going through the US export process.
Legal notice gives Congress 30 days to oppose any sale, but this is unlikely given the widespread bipartisan support for Taiwan’s defense.
The US action comes as the Trump administration has stepped up pressure on China ahead of the November 3 presidential elections and heightened concerns about Beijing’s intentions towards Taiwan. Beijing views Taiwan as a secessionist province that has pledged to “reunite” with the mainland, if necessary by force.