China: November 24, 2000


Over furious objections from Beijing, the US has announced plans for a $1.3 billion sale of weapons to Taiwan. Keystone of the arms package is a batch of 200 AIM-120C AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. These will be stored at a US base in Asia (probably Guam) and delivered to Taiwan only in the event of a crisis, or when China receives its Russian-made R77 (AA-12 Adder) air-to-air missiles, which have twice the range of the AMRAAM. The deal also includes 292 LAU-129 launch rails and software for use by Taiwanese F-16s, both of which will be installed now. Taiwan will also receive 71 RGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles to arm its new FFG-7 frigates. Taiwan already uses the Harpoon Block I on its Knox-class frigates, and has developed its own copies of Harpoon (Hsiung Feng 2 and 3). The package also includes 146 M109A5 self-propelled 155mm howitzers, six M88A2 Improved Tank Recovery Vehicles, 79 M2 12.7mm heavy barrel machineguns, 160 PVS-7B night vision goggles, 146 VRD-87E and six VRC-90E SINCGARS radios.--Stephen V Cole


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