On Monday, the State Department approved a potential $100 million arms sale to Taiwan to improve the island’s Patriot missile defense systems.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the sale includes engineering support meant to “sustain, maintain, and improve” Taiwan’s Patriot systems. The primary contractors for the deal are Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The approval comes as the US has been taking steps to increase ties with Taiwan as part of its strategy to counter China. Arming Taiwan is popular in Washington. Two bills were introduced by Republicans in Congress last year that would give the island billions in military aid each year.
The US has sold weapons to Taiwan since Washington and Taipei severed formal diplomatic ties in 1979. But the US and Taiwan have increased military cooperation in different ways in recent years. In October, Taipei acknowledged the presence of US troops on the island for the first time in decades, an admission meant to send a message to China.