The move comes as the administration seeks to strengthen ties with Taipei amid growing tensions with Beijing. Sales will likely exacerbate these tensions.
According to the sources, the administration provided an informal notification over the weekend of the proposed sales of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System – a long-range rocket artillery system that can strike targets up to 190 miles away – Expanded response to deadlock ground attack missiles – cruise missiles fired from airplanes and designed to strike ground targets – and external sensor pods for F-16 aircraft.
The informal notification process is a common practice in which the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are notified of planned sales, which allows committee leaders to voice concerns, provide advice. or keep abreast.
Reuters was the first to report on informal notifications.
A State Department spokesperson said that “as a matter of principle we do not comment on or confirm proposed defense sales until they have been formally notified to Congress.”
CNN reported in mid-September that the administration is expected to approve another major arms sale soon, including drones to Taiwan.
Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper did not confirm the sales offered at an event with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies last week. However, he noted that “what we are doing in this space is, of course, to meet their defense needs”.
“Our partner there is facing an increasingly aggressive attitude as well as pressure from (People’s Republic of China),” Cooper said. “And our efforts there are in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, and we want to make sure that what is available to Taiwan are defense items and services necessary for Taiwan to maintain sufficient self-defense. ”
Washington has long supplied the island with arms under the 40-year-old Taiwan Relations Act.
Beijing has castigated the sales, calling them a violation of China’s sovereignty. The country’s Communist government views Taiwan as part of its territory, although the two have been ruled separately since the end of a bloody civil war in 1949.
However, there has been an increase in arms sales to Taiwan under the Trump administration as the United States has moved closer to Taipei.
The Trump administration has previously approved several major arms sales to Taiwan valued at over $ 13 billion in total, including dozens of F-16 fighter jets, M1A2T Abrams tanks, portable Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and MK-48 Mod6 torpedoes.
In addition, the administration has sent a number of senior officials to Taiwan in recent weeks, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and State Department Under Secretary for Economic Growth, energy and environment Keith Krach.