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Taiwan to Buy 400 US Anti-Ship Missiles to Counter China

Crew members are photographed aboard on Chang Chien frigate of Taiwanese Navy Force while monitoring the Chinese frigate Ma'anshan of People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, from an undisclosed location on the waters around Taiwan, in this handout picture released on April 8, 2023. Taiwan Defence Ministry

Taiwan to Buy 400 US Anti-Ship Missiles to Counter China

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April 18, 2023

April 17 (Reuters) – Taiwan will buy as many as 400 U.S. land-launched Harpoon missiles in the face of rising threat from China, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing a trade group’s leader and people familiar with the issue.

The Pentagon announced a $1.17 billion contract for 400 of the anti-ship missiles on April 7 without naming the buyer, saying production was expected to be completed by March 2029. Bloomberg said Taiwan was the buyer. 

The Pentagon declined to comment directly on the deal, but said: “the United States makes available to Taiwan defense articles and services necessary to enable it to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”

In 2020, Taiwan said it planned to buy land-based Boeing-made Harpoonanti-ship missiles as part of its military modernization efforts. 

When asked about the news report, Taiwan Defence Ministry spokesperson Sun Li-fang told a regular media conference the ministry had previously disclosed information about the purchase, adding it was “confident” the deal would continue according to schedule.

A contract with Boeing that the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command issued on Taiwan’s behalf marks the first time it will get the mobile, land-launched version, the Bloomberg report said, citing Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council. It had previously purchased the ship-launched version.

Boeing referred questions to the Pentagon.

This month, U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy hosted Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California and stressed the need to accelerate arms deliveries to Taiwan in the face of rising threats from China. 

After the meeting, Mike Gallagher, Republican chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, said he would like to look for ways to get Harpoon missiles to Taiwan ahead of those scheduled to go to Saudi Arabia.

(Reporting by Shivani Tanna in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei; Editing by Mark Porter, Josie Kao, Jamie Freed and Lincoln Feast.)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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