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Biden to arm Taiwan with F-16 munitions

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
March 3, 2023

The White House is responding to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense with an approved $619 million weapons package after China reportedly sent 25 warplanes and 3 warships toward Taiwan.

Taiwan grateful to U.S. for sale of defensive weapons package

On Thursday, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense thanked the U.S. for its willingness to approve the $619 million weapons package, according to Focus Taiwan.

This package is the ninth one that the US has approved, and will include items such as  200 Amraam missiles and 100 AGM-88B HARMs that can take out radar stations on land, launchers, and several additional supporting items, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The package also includes hundreds of missiles for F-16 fighter jets. Taiwan used its own funds to make the purchase, according to the Daily Mail.

Taiwan has a fleet of F-16 fighter jets that it purchased from the U.S., according to the Associated Press, and has ordered 66 more, but those aren't scheduled for delivery until the middle of the 2020s, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Chinese officials expressed their opposition to this newest sale to Taiwan, claiming it's a violation to Beijing's claims to the island, according to The Hill.

However, Taiwan has been an independent nation since 1949, after winning a civil war, according to the Associated Press.

China's persistent provocation of Taiwan

On Wednesday morning, Chinese warplanes and warships were sent toward Taiwan, and 19 of the planes crossed into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, according to Military Times.

The warships were operating in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan made moves to watch, keeping in mind the need to possibly defend itself from a perceived threat of attack, according to the Daily Mail.

The island nation sent fighter jets, ships, and activated coastal missile defense systems.

Then, China turned and headed back to its mainland.

These types of activities occur almost daily, and are a tactic referred to by the military as "gray zone" tactics, according to Military Times.

The motivation is to intimidate, wear down equipment and personnel, and generate negative morale among the general public.

Cyber warfare, bogus news stories, and isolation from allies are also a part of the tactics.

Biden administration's goals in connection to supplying weapons package

In a Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby, a reporter asked Kirby what the Biden administration's goals were in supplying the weapons package.

Kirby replied that the move, "... is very much in keeping with our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act to make sure that Taiwan has sufficient self-defense capability. These munitions designed for F-16 aircraft will exactly help do that."