June 7, 2000 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The Pentagon on Wednesday announced sales of two weapons systems to Taiwan designed to improve the defensive and navigation capabilities of its F-16 fighters.
will pay $122 million for 48 electronic countermeasures pods, which are designed for use on F-16s to jam or interfere with enemy anti-aircraft radar signals.
Taiwan also will pay $234 million for 39 sets of Pathfinder/Sharpshooter pods, which provide low-altitude navigation and defensive capability.
U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are frequently criticized by China, which views them as unwarranted U.S. interference in Chinese affairs. The U.S. view is that sales of defensive arms are justified under the Taiwan Relations Act. The Pentagon said the sales of electronic countermeasures pods and Pathfinder/Sharpshooter pods "will not affect the basic military balance in the region. "
The United States does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which split from China amid civil war in 1949. China considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province and has not ruled out using force to reunite Taiwan with the mainland.