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China reacts Strongly to US-Taiwan Multi-Billion Dollar Arms Deal

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Multi-billion dollar arms deals announced by the US on Friday caused strong protests from China along with an announcement halting all military and diplomatic visits. The latter had seen happier days in late 2009 when both countries exchanged high-ranking delegations, including a visit by US President Barack Obama to Beijing in November.



Protests had already been heard in December 2009 and early January, when the Pentagon approved the sale of Patriot PAC-3 missiles to Taiwan.

Now, the US and Taiwan are about to conclude a number of arms deals amounting to a total value of approximately $6.39 billion (€4.59 billion), as announced on 29 January by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The complex situation on both sides of the Taiwan Strait has repeatedly created political turmoil involving the United States, which maintains strong military and industrial ties with Taiwan, although it has declared on many occasions that it supports the one-China policy and peaceful development in the region.

According to the Defence Ministry's Foreign Affairs Office, the Chinese Defence Minister, Liang Guanglie, voiced strong protest on Saturday and the director of the office summoned the US defence attaché to lodge its protest. China openly dismisses any compromise in this matter and continues to consider Taiwan to be an internal affair. Hence, perceiving the US relations with Taiwan as an interference into its domestic matters, China has repeatedly stated it reserves the right to take further actions. However, no consequences in terms of direct military actions have ever come to pass and the international community considers these warnings to be an obligatory emphasis of China’s policy, rather than a true threat.

As recently as October 2009, Obama assured a visiting senior Chinese military officer that US-Chinese relations enjoy good overall momentum and that, as a crucial component of the overall relationship, bilateral military ties play an important role in enhancing strategic mutual trust and deepening their pragmatic cooperation (see http://www.defpro.com/news/details/10926/). For the time being, this was the latest culmination of the two countries ongoing positive approach towards their relations. Now, relations depend on how the possible arms deal with Taiwan will further proceed.


The Multi-Billion Deal in Details

On Friday, the DSCA notified the US Congress of five possible arms deals with Taiwan, represented by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States. The following is a list of these possible foreign military sales (FMS) with a total value of $6.39 billion, as detailed by the DSCA.

• Taiwan requested the sale of 114 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles, three AN/MPQ-65 radar sets and other related equipment and services worth an estimated $2.81 billion (€2.02 billion). The deal also includes an AN/MSQ-133 information and coordination center, a tactical command station, three communication relay groups, three AN/MSQ-132 engagement control stations, 26 M902 launching stations as well as five antenna mast groups. According to the DSCA, “The proposed sale will improve the recipient’s capability to meet current and future threats of enemy air strikes. The recipient will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense.” The principal contractors for this deal will be Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin.

• The US is also considering selling 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters worth an estimated $3.1 billion (€2.23 billion) to Taiwan. This would further comprise the delivery of 120 T-700-GE-701D engines, 18 spare T-700-GE-701D engines, 69 AN/APR-39A(V)2 radar warning receivers, 69 AN/ALQ-144A(V)1 infrared countermeasure sets, 69 AN/AAR-57 common missile warning systems, 69 AN/AVR-2B laser detecting sets, 120 GAU-19/A .50 cal machine gun systems, 310 AN/AVS-9 aviator night vision goggles, as well as associated ammunition, equipment and services. The helicopters, which will be manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft (United Technologies) Corporation and General Electric Aircraft Company, will be used for self-defence, personnel movement, cargo lifting, and air MEDEVAC capabilities. According to the DSCA, Taiwan has requested offsets for this particular contract. However, at this time they are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the two countries.

• The DSCA further announced a possible contract for ten RTM-84L HARPOON Block II and two ATM-84L HARPOON Block II telemetry missiles, as well as other related equipment and services at an estimated cost of $37 million (€26.6 million). The DSCA explains that “the proposed sale will improve the recipient’s capability to meet current and future threats of hostile surface ship operations.” The prime contractor will be McDonnell Douglas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing.

• The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office is also interested in the procurement of 35 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems Low Volume Terminals (MIDS/LVT-1) and 25 MIDS on-ship terminals. This contract will have an estimated value of $340 million (€244.39 million). The terminals are intended to improve and integrate the information flow as well as the display of tactical aircraft, surface ships, and ground stations. According to the DSCA statement,
Taiwan “will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense.” The contract will be awarded through a competitive procurement conducted by the US government.

• Finally, the DSCA notified the US Congress of a possible sale of two Osprey-class mine hunting ships, including refurbishment, upgrade and other related support and services, to Taiwan. The contract, which has an estimated value of $105 million (€75.47 million), includes the overhaul of the AN/SQQ-32 sonar systems. Taiwan will, in particular, use the ships to enhance its capabilities to meet future threats of enemy mining operations. The prime contractor is to be chosen after a competitive source selection.

By Nicolas von Kospoth
© defpro.com -


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