Taiwan Vows to Defend Itself After U.S. Approves Arms Sales to Deter China

Taiwan says it's determined to defend itself against China's "military expansion" after the Biden administration approved another round of arms sales to the island to bolster its missile deterrent.

The State Department notified Congress of a $95 million equipment and maintenance package for Taiwan's Patriot surface-to-air missile systems on April 5, according to a press released issued by the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry said it welcomed the Biden administration's third foreign military sale to Taiwan. It was the second such deal to be green-lighted this year, after the DSCA notified Congress in February of a $100 million Patriot package for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, Taiwan's de facto embassy in Washington.

The move "demonstrates the high value the U.S. government places on Taiwan's defense needs," said the statement out of Taipei on Wednesday. The ministry said the arms sale was timely and would "effectively increase deterrence."

"Faced with China's continued military expansion and provocations, Taiwan must fully demonstrate its high degree of determination to defend itself," the Foreign Ministry said.

Taiwan's armed forces operate a number of the latest Patriot missile systems made by American contractor Raytheon Technologies. U.S. defense planners have pointed to the ongoing war in Ukraine as evidence of how a smaller power might hold its own against an adversary with a quantitative advantage.

Ukraine's effective use of anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons offers some proof of the concept of "asymmetric warfare," a military strategy that would see Taiwan target the vulnerabilities in China's forces instead of matching its capabilities like for like.

"This proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic and security interests by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability," the Pentagon notice said. "The proposed sale will help to sustain the recipient's missile density and ensure readiness for air operations. The recipient will use this capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen homeland defense."

Raytheon; Lockheed Martin; and Boeing Defense, Space and Security are on Beijing's sanctions list for producing arms that the U.S. transfers to Taiwan.

China has never governed democratic Taiwan, but maintains a decades-long claim over it. Taiwan says it's already an independent state under the name of the Republic of China.

Xi Jinping, considered to be the China's most hawkish leader in a generation, has stressed the Chinese Communist Party's line that it will never renounce the use of force against the island.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, condemned the deal with Taiwan and demanded it be withdrawn. The arms sale "seriously undermines China's sovereignty and security interests, and seriously undermines China-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," he said.

"China will take resolute and powerful measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty and security interests," Zhao said.

U.S. Approves Patriot missile Package for Taiwan
Taiwan’s armed forces launch a U.S.-made Patriot missile during the annual Han Kuang military drills in Yilan on July 20, 2006. Taiwan operates a number of the latest Patriot systems. Its government thanked the U.S. for approving an equipment and service package worth $95 million on April 5, 2022. SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images