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US announces USD 1.1 billion arms package for Taiwan

Washington: US on Friday (local time) announced the sale of approximately USD 1.1 billion in military equipment including Harpoon and Sidewinder missiles to Taiwan.
Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DCSA) confirmed in a series of statements that Washington has approved the sale of military equipment to Taiwan. The US State Department approved an estimated USD 355 million sale of Harpoon Block II Missiles and related equipment to Taiwan in order to modernize the island's defence capabilities and serve US security interests, said DSCA.
The State Department also made a determination approving the sale of Block II Sidewinder Missiles and related equipment at an estimated cost of USD 85.6 million, according to DCSA.
The possible sale of USD 665.4 million in Surveillance Radar Program support and equipment was also approved, DCSA added.
The proposed sales will not alter the basic military balance in the region, DCSA also said. The proposed sales come amid increased tension between Washington and Beijing over a contentious trip to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Harpoons are anti-ship homing missiles produced by Boeing with littoral-water capabilities. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) requested to buy 60 of the missiles and related equipment.
Sidewinders are air-to-air missiles developed by Raytheon with the ability to lock on to targets after launch. TECRO requested to buy 100 of the missiles along with related equipment.
TECRO also requested to purchase Contractor Logistics Support for their Surveillance Radar Program, which would improve the island's situational awareness and threat warning capabilities, according to DCSA. Raytheon would be the principal contractor of the sale.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington in response to reports of the proposed sales earlier this week called on the Biden administration to immediately cease weapons sales to Taiwan.
Arms sales could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait and risk violating China's sovereignty and security interests, a Chinese embassy spokesperson said.
Taiwan military on Thursday shot down an unidentified civilian drone, which had entered its airspace over the restricted waters of Shiyu Island, just off the Chinese coast in the early hours today.
"The Jinmen Defense Command of the Army stated that at 12:30 p.m. today (1), an unidentified civilian aerial camera was found to enter the airspace over the restricted waters of Shiyu Island," according to the statement released by Taiwan's Defence Ministry.
"The Ministry of Defense will continue to search, monitor, and monitor closely to maintain the security of the defence area," the statement reads.
A similar incident was reported on Tuesday where the Taiwanese military fired at a Chinese military drone after it entered the "restricted" air space over a Taiwanese-controlled island.
Since mid-August, a number of civilian drones have been spotted flying over the outlying island of Kinmen, 180 kilometres from Taiwan's main island but less than 10 kilometres from China. On one occasion, on August 16, two Taiwanese soldiers wearing masks reportedly threw rocks at a Chinese drone when it flew above their military post. (ANI)

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