Taiwan increasing orders for US weapons
Taiwan is upping its orders of US-made weapons as tensions increase with China amid fears in Taipei.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense confirmed on Wednesday that it bought a new batch of the US Javelin anti-tank missiles and announced that it was planning on increasing its order of the HIMARS rocket systems amid heightened tensions with China.
Taiwan announced last week plans on increasing its security budget in light of rising tensions with Beijing, especially due to the latest developments that drove a wider wedge between China and Taipei.
Taipei proposed a security budget of $13.7 billion for 2023, marking a 13% year-on-year increase, pending parliamentary approval.
The island will also create a special budget allocated specifically for the acquisition of fighter jets and other aircraft and naval vessels to boost its capabilities in the maritime and aerial arenas.
"The Javelin system is in the production and delivery phase. The program is being implemented as planned," Taiwan Army Chief of Staff Chang Yuan-shiun told a press briefing.
Washington and Taipei are actively cooperating to ensure that the order is delivered to the self-governed island on time, Chang added.
The state-run Central News Agency (CNA) reported, citing information obtained from the Taiwanese Defense Ministry, that Taipei is aiming to acquire more HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, increasing the initial request of 11 to 29. The island also added 864 precision rockets compatible with HIMARS to its order.
Tensions soared between China and Taiwan earlier this month, reaching their highest in decades, due to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island after Beijing warned both Washington and Taipei against such a trip.
The bipartisan trip sparked a caustic response from Beijing, which said it had carried out "combat readiness patrol and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island."
In response to the delegation's visit, Beijing called on Washington to "stop going further down the wrong path of hollowing out and distorting the one-China principle, so as not to cause further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."
Since early August, China has carried out several large-scale military exercises near Taiwan in response to the visits of high-ranking US officials to the island.
Pelosi's visit also led China to announce ending cooperation with the United States on a number of issues such as climate change, anti-drug efforts, and military talks.