The White House is going forward with the sale of three weapons packages to Taiwan, according to a report from Reuters. Sources said that the Trump administration recently notified Congress about the deal.
The weapons being sold include a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin, long-range missiles made by Boeing, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets.
The three sales could be the first of many. In September, sources told Reuters that the Trump administration was preparing for a massive arms sale to Taiwan that could include up to seven types of weapons systems.
The news of the arms sale comes a week after US officials encouraged Taiwan to spend more money on defense. At an event last week, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien warned China against an invasion of Taiwan and urged Taipei to increase its military budget. A Pentagon official made a similar plea during the annual US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference last week.
Since the US severed ties with Taipei in 1979, Washington has sold arms to the island to discourage China from invading. Those sales are lucrative for US weapons makers, and Taiwan is a leading customer. In the 2019 fiscal year, Taiwan requested more weapons from the US than any other country.
The Trump administration has increased ties with Taipei in other ways. President Trump signed a bill into law in 2018 that paved the way for high-level visits to Taiwan. US Health Secretary Alex Azar visited Taiwan in August, making him the highest-level US official to visit the island since 1979.