On Aug. 23, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the latest round of arms sales to Taiwan, worth $500 million, which will provide Taiwan with infrared search and tracking systems for use on its Block 70 F-16 fighter jets. This is the 11th arms sale to Taiwan by the Biden administration, as well as the second arms sale to Taiwan after the U.S. announced on July 28 that it would use the Presidential Drawdown Authority to provide Taiwan with $345 million in military aid.
According to the Taiwan military, the IRST pods sold by the United States are the latest models developed in conjunction with the Block 70 F-16 fighter jet, which can further strengthen the fighter jet’s ability to detect and track long-distance targets and greatly improve the effectiveness of air combat. Additionally, on June 29, the Taiwan military announced a contract award notice, with Taiwan and the U.S. having completed the signing of the purchase of the Volcano Mine System, which will be delivered by the end of 2029.
Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of the Peoples’ Republic of China, responded to the Biden administration’s 11th arms sale to Taiwan on the Aug. 24, emphasizing that China firmly opposes the United States’ arms sales to Taiwan. The Democratic Progressive Party’s use of our Taiwanese compatriots’ hard-earned money for weapons and their engagement in “Taiwan independence” separatist activities does not equal safety.
According to public information, the multiple launch rocket system, “Hippocampus,” American-made M1A2T tanks, Block 70 F-16 fighter jets and other arms will be delivered to Taiwan between 2024 and 2026, marking the peak of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan in recent years. MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones, shore-mounted Harpoon missiles, etc., will also be delivered according to schedule or ahead of schedule, with Taiwan expecting to obtain the two pieces of equipment described above in 2025 and 2028, respectively.
Taiwan authorities recently disclosed that Taiwan’s military expenditure will increase by 3.5% in 2024, compared to that of last year, hitting a record high. Taiwan’s significant increase in military spending and the United States’ arms sales to Taiwan on a large scale are essentially accelerating Taiwan’s transformation into a “powder keg.” Former Taiwanese legislator Guo Zhengliang believes that, judging from the items set to be delivered in the Taiwan arms sale, the United States is hoping that Taiwan will fight a little longer and suffer more casualties when war breaks out.