Washington negotiates UAV sales with Taiwan, China protests

TAIPEI, (BM) – The Reuters news agency, citing its own sources, reports that a deal may soon take place to sell at least four American reconnaissance drones to Taiwan. It is assumed that the amount of the contract could be $600 million, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

Read more: Taiwan Buys 66 F-16s Totaling $8 Billion

The potential agreement as a whole has reportedly received State Department approval, but it also requires congressional approval. The publication notes that this deal could worsen relations between the United States and China. The new drones have a greater flight range than previously used drones in Taiwan.

It is noted that this agreement may become the first after the official easing of restrictions on the export of military drones by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

The Chinese government has protested the US over the government’s approval of a deal to supply Taiwan with SeaGuardian long-range reconnaissance medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor the sea surface. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said this on Friday at a regular briefing.

“The US supply of arms to Taiwan is a serious violation of the One China Principle and the Three Sino-US Joint Communiqués,” he said. “China expresses a strong protest in this regard. The problem of Taiwan affects the issue of the territorial integrity of China, and the PRC will resolutely defend its interests in this area. We hope that the United States realizes the harmful consequences of arms supplies to Taiwan,” the diplomat said.

He noted that Washington needs to stop supplying arms to Taiwan and sever political contacts with the island to prevent further deterioration in Sino-US relations.

Read more: Taiwan Buys Abrams Tanks and Stinger Missiles Totaling $2.2 Billion, China is Seriously Concerned

The SeaGuardian drones are one of the versions of the American multipurpose complex Predator, they are able to stay in the air for 48 hours and fly at a distance of more than 11 thousand km. The reconnaissance UAVs in service with the Taiwan Air Force have a range of about 200 km.

The United States offered the same drone to India

The United States is ready to supply India with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) MQ-9B Sea Guardian, designed for marine reconnaissance. This is confirmed in a written statement released two months ago on behalf of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer following talks between US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington.

As noted in the document, the leaders of the two countries promised to “deepen cooperation in the spheres of defense and security.” At the same time, “the United States offered to India for consideration the possibility of selling Sea Guardian unmanned aerial systems,” the statement said.

The Taiwan problem

Taiwan has been run by its own administration since 1949, when the remnants of the Kuomintang forces, led by Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975), fled there after being defeated in the civil war against the communists. Since then, this largest Chinese island has been under its own administration, retaining the flag, currency and some other attributes of the former Republic of China.

Read more: The U.S. Is Pursuing Sale of Tanks and Weapons to Taiwan, China Is Severely Concerned

Beijing considers Taiwan to be one of the provinces of China. The PRC Foreign Ministry previously stated that it opposes any supply of American arms and military equipment to Taipei.

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