‘SERIOUS’ ABOUT THE DEFENCE:
While the Foreign Office welcomed the deal, a researcher said the sales lacked substance and provided limited military support.
By Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung / Journalist, with an editor and CNA
Washington has approved a plan to sell $120 million of ship and system spare parts and related equipment to Taiwan, the fourth defense package to Taipei approved by US President Joe Biden’s administration.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement Wednesday that the sale would include unclassified spare and repair parts for ships and ship systems, technical logistics assistance, engineering and logistics support. US government officials and contractors, and other logistics and program related elements. support requested by Taiwan.
“The proposed sale will contribute to the maintenance of the recipient’s fleet of surface vessels, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats,” the statement said.
Photo courtesy of the Department of National Defense
The Department of National Defense expressed “sincere gratitude” for the deal, saying it would help the navy maintain equipment and resupply to remain combat-ready in the face of an increasingly assertive Chinese military.
The sale should be finalized within a month, he added.
The Foreign Ministry said the latest deal was the third defense package offered to Taiwan this year and the fourth since Biden took office in January last year.
The first, in August last year, was a $750 million deal to purchase 40 Paladin M109A6 self-propelled howitzers.
This was followed by a US$100 million package in February that included equipment and services to support participation in the Patriot International Engineering Services Program and the Field Monitoring Program for five years.
The third, in April, was a $95 million sale of equipment and services to service Taiwan’s American-made Patriot missile air defense system.
The Foreign Ministry hailed the latest defense sale, saying it shows Washington attaches great importance to boosting Taiwan’s self-defense capability.
It also reflects the continued U.S. policy of normalizing defense-related sales to Taiwan, he added.
However, Chieh Chung (揭仲), a researcher with the Association of Strategic Foresight, disagreed that the package shows that the United States “takes Taiwan’s national defense needs seriously.” .
The sales only continue the standardization of military sales to Taiwan adopted under former US President Donald Trump, as most of the defense packages offered by the Biden administration are spare parts and lack substance, Chieh said yesterday. .
The most recent sale provides limited help in boosting Taiwan’s military capacity, he said, adding that it does not resolve doubts about US arms sales after changes to military orders. Paladin howitzers.
Whether the United States makes further changes to agreed sales, agrees to sell AGM-158 joint air-to-surface missiles from Taiwan, and when the United States agrees to sell smart naval mines from Taiwan are the three things to watch for. determine whether the United States is “serious” about Taiwan’s defense needs, Chieh said.
The AGM-158, which could be fitted to upgraded F-16A/Bs, would provide the jets with cross-strait strike capabilities, as the missiles have a target range of 370 km, but the United States has no not accept the sale, despite several requests for the missiles by the Ministry of Defense since 2014, Chieh said.
The U.S. refusal to sell smart naval mines to Taiwan — first requested by Taiwan in 2018 and again in August 2020 — is odd because it is the type of equipment that many members of the Biden administration, should be a priority buy to increase Taiwan’s asymmetry. warfare capabilities, Chieh said.
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