US approves support deal with Taiwan for Patriot missiles
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has approved a $100 million support contract with Taiwan aimed at boosting the island’s missile defense systems as it faces increasing pressure from China.
The State Department announced the engineering and maintenance agreement on Monday as China plays host to the 2022 Winter Olympics.
China, which is sharply critical of any American arms sales to Taiwan, called on the U.S. to revoke the deal and stop any military interaction with the self-governing island.
“U.S. arms sales to Taiwan ... seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, and seriously damage China-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Tuesday.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province, has not ruled out the use of force to unify the island with the mainland and has in recent months escalated fighter jet flights near Taiwan.
The support agreement is meant to help Taiwan maintain its existing air-defense missiles and advanced U.S.-made Patriot missiles that Taiwan is acquiring.
Taiwan’s defense ministry tweeted its thanks to the U.S. for the agreement’s approval.