Staunch objections from China did not stop the United States yesterday from signing off on the export of missile defense technology to Taiwan, Reuters reported (see GSN, Jan. 6).
Lockheed Martin Corp. has been cleared to sell Patriot Advanced Capability 3 systems to Taipei, said Washington's unofficial embassy in Taiwan. The new armaments, defense experts say, could give Taiwan the ability to eliiminate short- and medium-range missiles launched from China.
The Patriots appear to be the final component of a $6.5 billion weapons deal approved in the final months of the Bush administration. "This is the last piece that Taiwan has been waiting on," said Wendell Minnick, Asia bureau chief for Defense News.
While Taiwan has an autonomous government, Beijing claims the island-state as its territory and has threatened to use force should it pursue formal independence.
Chinese Vice Adm.Yang Yi said Beijing should consider placing sanctions on U.S. defense companies that sell arms to Taiwan while also seeking deals with China, the China News Service reported.
"Why don't we take defensive countermeasures against them? Apart from just protesting to the U.S. government and taking necessary steps, why don't we put sanctions on these troublemakers?" Yang said (Jennings/Blanchard, Reuters/Washington Post, Jan. 7, 2010).
The arms deal described by the Defense Department to the U.S. Congress in fall 2008 contained 330 PAC-3 missiles valued at up to $3.1 billion. Yesterday's armament announcement is believed to be one facet of the larger missile package, Agence France-Presse reported (Agence France-Presse/Yahoo!News, Jan. 7, 2010).