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State Department approves $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan

By Ryan Maass
State Department approves $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan
The Foreign Military Sales from the United States to Taiwan include two Perry-class frigates, amphibious assault vehicles, and supporting munitions and equipment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Swink

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department approved possible Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan worth $1.83 billion, including frigates, amphibious assault vehicles and weapons.

The sale, pending congressional approval, would bolster Taiwan's military defenses amid regional disputes over maritime territory. In addition to refurbished two Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, the approved sale also includes Amphibious Assault Vehicles, and Taiwan Advanced Tactical Data Link System integration.

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Also proposed are the sales of a variety of munitions including Javelin missiles, TOW missiles and MANPAD Stinger missiles. The proposed sale also includes Phalanx Close-in Weapons System guns, upgrade kits, ammunition and support.

The frigates will be equipped with the MK-92 Mod 6 Fire Control System, The SQQ-89V(9) Anti-Submarine Warfare System, the MK-75 76mm Gun System, and additional weapon systems. The Assault Amphibious Vehicles will be equipped with .50 Caliber M2 machine guns, and 7.62 M240 machine guns.

In addition to munitions and military equipment, the U.S. will supply training instructors and maintenance engineers to assist Taiwanese operators.

The approval by the State Department to bolster Taiwanese defenses was welcomed by several lawmakers and defense officials, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who warns that failing to arm Taiwan leaves China unchecked.

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"Going forward, the United States must establish a more regularized process for considering requests for arms sales to Taiwan in order to avoid extended periods in which a fear of upsetting the U.S.-China relationship may harm Taiwan's defense capabilities," McCain told Defense News.

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