United States President Joe Biden plans to ask Congress to approve an estimated $1.1bn arms sale to the self-ruled island of Taiwan, including 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles, according to Politico.
The package, which is still in an early stage, includes 60 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles for $355m, 100 AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder tactical air-to-air missiles for $85.6m, and $655.4m for a surveillance radar contract extension, three people familiar with the matter told the publication.
The Sidewinder missiles will be used to arm Taipei’s US-made F-16 fighter jets.
Taiwan, which is claimed by Beijing, is one of the region’s most vibrant democracies, and the US is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.
The report of the new weapons comes amid heightened tension with China, which has not ruled out the use of force to take control of Taiwan, staging unprecedented military drills in the sea and air around the island following a visit this month by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On Sunday, the US said it had sent two of its warships through the strait in a “freedom of navigation” exercise.
Once the Biden administration formalises the notification, the deal will need approval from the foreign affairs committees of Congress. The legislators are expected to approve the sale, Politico said.