Taiwan seeking major purchase of US missiles

Taiwan is seeking to buy more than US$400 million worth of missiles and parts from the United States to bolster its air defenses, prompting a strong protest from China. The government is looking to buy 218 AMRAAM medium range air-to-air missiles and another 235 Maverick missiles, at an estimated cost of $421 million. The purchase is aimed at modernizing Taiwan's military and enhancing its ability to counter air-to-ground threats. The missiles would be used by Taiwan's F-16 fighters. Taiwan announced in July that it is also hoping to buy 66 F-16s from Washington. "China is improving its military power and we treat that as a threat," Rear Adm. Wu Chi-fang, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said Saturday. The deal has not been concluded, however, and it immediately prompted opposition from China, which considers Taiwan to be a part of its sovereign territory and has in the past strongly protested similar weapons sales.