US pushes arms sales surge to Taiwan, needling China: Sources

first_imgTaiwan’s military is well-trained and well-equipped with mostly US-made hardware, but China has a huge numerical superiority and is adding advanced equipment of its own.The weapons packages from Lockheed Martin Co, Boeing and General Atomics are moving their way through the export process, three people familiar with the status of the deals on Capitol Hill said, and a notification to Congress is expected within weeks.One industry source said President Donald Trump was slated to be briefed on the packages this week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Some of the deals had been requested by Taiwan more than a year ago, but are only now being moved through the approval process. A State Department spokesman declined comment.A senior US official, citing Chinese assertiveness in the Taiwan Strait, said: “There is no equilibrium today. It is out of balance. And I think that is dangerous.”Trump’s White House has made an effort to export weapons to US allies trying to bolster their defenses, decrease dependence on US troops while boosting US companies and jobs.As he fights for re-election on Nov. 3, Trump and Republican supporters have ramped up their rhetoric against Beijing and sought to portray Democratic opponent Joe Biden as soft on China.Other factors include Taiwan’s bigger defense budget, and the fear in Taiwan that if Trump loses, Biden would be less willing to sell the US’s most advanced weapons to them.Taiwan’s interest in US weapons and equipment is not new. The island is bolstering its defenses in the face of what it sees as increasingly threatening moves by Beijing, such as regular Chinese air force and naval exercises near Taiwan.The senior US official said Taiwan’s increased defense spending was a good step, but it had to do more.”Taiwan, frankly, needs to do more in order to ensure that they indigenously have an ability to deter Chinese aggression,” the official said.DealsDrones that can see over the horizon for surveillance and targeting, coupled with advanced missiles and coastal defenses that include smart mines and anti-submarine capabilities to impede a sea invasion, have been discussed at the highest levels to make Taiwan more difficult to attack, like a “porcupine”, according to industry and congressional sources.A Lockheed Martin-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), essentially a truck-based rocket launcher, is among the weapons Taiwan wants, people familiar with the negotiations said. Taiwan also seeks to buy sophisticated anti-tank missiles.In early August, Reuters reported that Washington is negotiating the sale of at least four of its large sophisticated aerial drones to Taiwan for what could be about $600 million.Also under discussion are land-based Boeing-made Harpoon anti-ship missiles to serve as a coastal defense against cruise missiles.Other systems include “underwater sea mines and other capabilities to deter amphibious landing, or immediate attack,” Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to United States said in July.  At the same time Taiwan’s desire to buy weapons increased after President Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected in January and has made strengthening Taiwan’s defenses a top priority.Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue. Beijing says it is a Chinese province, and has denounced the Trump administration’s support for the island.Washington has been eager to create a military counterbalance to Chinese forces, building on an effort known within the Pentagon as “Fortress Taiwan”, as Beijing’s military makes increasingly aggressive moves in the region.Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the reported package was a “media assumption,” and that it handled weapons purchase talks and assessments in a low-key, confidential way, so could not offer public comment until there was a formal US notification of any sales to Congress. The United States plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems, including mines, cruise missiles and drones to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to the island were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing.But the Trump administration has become more aggressive with China in 2020 and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, a lingering trade war and disputes about the spread of the novel coronavirus.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Theft suspect falls

first_imgThe suspect was brought to the Jordanpolice station, where he was detained. ILOILO City – Charged with theft, a manwas nabbed in Barangay Poblacion, Jordan, Guimaras. The 20-year-old Carl Jefferson Sevillawas caught on the strength of an arrest warrant around 10 a.m. on Dec. 10,police said. center_img The court recommended a P6,000 bail bondfor Sevilla’s temporary  liberty./PNlast_img

Mega Lottery participants receive cheque from FSJ Rotary Club

first_imgClub President Michael Elphinstone says the primary goal of the Mega Lottery is to help these local organizations garnish some finances through a streamlined fundraiser.“Those dollars are a way of having a consolidated lottery where all the funds can get distributed and managed without each individual club having to go through the gaming procedures,” says ElphinstoneHe says “it was a pretty solid year” for ticket sales.- Advertisement -“We’re happy to have raised an excess of $100,000 for the various community organizations, and we’re really looking forward to next year, and continuing to raise those dollars.”Member of the Rotary Club and volunteer of the Mega Lottery Committee Moira Green says there’s a cost to the lottery in terms of administration and prizes.Once those cost are covered, the rest of the funds collected by the lottery are distributed to the participating clubs on a weighted average bases – based on their ticket sales.Advertisement For example, if there’s $10 dollars worth of tickets sold after cost are recuperated, and one local club sold 50 per cent of those tickets, they’d receive $5 dollars in profit.The Mega Lottery was hosted this year by both the Fort St. John and Dawson Creek Rotary Clubs.Some participating clubs this year include but are not limited to the Fort St. John and Taylor Minor Hockey Leagues, the Fort St. John Soccer Club, the Fort St. John Dance Society, the Dawson Creek 5-Pin Association and the Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Club.last_img read more