U.S. Approves $360M in Military Equipment for Taiwan


On Tuesday, President Biden’s administration approved selling $360 million in drones, missiles, and other military equipment to Taiwan.

The sale coincided with heightened tensions between the U.S. and China. While Beijing has long denounced Western backing for Taiwan, it has not publicly commented on the sale this week. The sale included 291 Altius-600M drones, warhead-equipped unmanned aerial vehicles. The process also involves 720 Switchblade drones, known as “extended-range loitering munitions,” the State Department said.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration formally greenlit $360 million in drone, missile, and other weaponry sales to Taiwan. The sale also happened to be during a particularly high period of tensions between the U.S. and China. While the Chinese authorities have not yet commented on this week’s sale, it has been a target of Beijing’s objections to Western arms sales that include support for Taiwan.

In addition to the 10 Heron drone aircraft, the sale would include 291 Altius-600M systems, which are essentially UAVs with warheads. According to the State Department, this also entails 720 Switchblade loitering munitions, or drones. Purely for “defense purposes,” of course…

The department said the sale would “contribute to the security of the recipient, making it more capable of carrying out military operations and increasing economic aid and political stability in the region.”

Taiwanese President Lai Ching-Te held a press conference Wednesday to thank the U.S. for selling the weapons and pledged to “further enhance Taiwan’s national defense capabilities.”

The sale has been in the works for months as the Biden administration sought to warm its ties with Beijing. Xi met Biden face-to-face in California late last year. They talked for 90 minutes—the first time they had spoken for an entire year before the summit—and said that there was “real progress” on US-China relations.

For decades, Xi’s regime has been pledging to reunify Taiwan with the mainland – if need be, by the use of force. The island broke off from Beijing in 1949, and the Kuomintang forces that had been driven out of mainland China decamped to Taiwan.