Chinese Taipei has signed a deal with Washington to maintain the island’s MIM-104 Patriot air missile system for another five years, a Taiwanese authority posting revealed on Thursday.

According to the Hong Kong-based paper, a source in the Taiwanese military said that the deal calls for engineering teams from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, two US defense contractors, to be positioned in Taiwan for the long term.

The deal was reportedly made after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fired 11 missiles over Taiwan during August military drills, which were held in response to a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

During the visit, Pelosi, the third-highest ranking US official, spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and condemned the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for trying to reunify with the island.

Beijing’s position is that Taiwan has always been a part of China, but by circumstance managed to evade conquest by communist forces during the Chinese Civil War, which ended in 1949 with the PRC’s foundation.

US support for the government in Taiwan is seen by Beijing as interference in internal Chinese affairs, especially since Washington shifted its recognition of the legitimate Chinese government from Taipei to Beijing in 1978.

Since 2016, US support for Tsai’s separatist-friendly government has antagonized US-China relations, and raised new pledges in mainland China to reincorporate Taiwan into the country.

At the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China earlier this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping doubled down on that pledge, saying that either peaceful or forceful reunification must be fulfilled.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Admiral Michael Gilday, the chief of US naval operations, have both voiced new warnings in recent days that China’s timeline for reuniting with Taiwan might be accelerating.

The US has stepped up its weapons sales to Taiwan, seeking to make the island as prickly as possible to deter Chinese interference.

This has included large volumes of asymmetric weapons, such as cruise missiles, air defense systems, and torpedoes, as well as radars and other support systems.

Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2022.

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20-10-22 23:42

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20-10-22 23:43

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