The U.S. State Department has formally notified the Congress of the planned arms sales to the Taiwan region, Reuters reported on Wednesday, though the Chinese mainland has repeatedly warned the U.S. to stop the deal.
Citing Pentagon, Reuters said the U.S. State Department had approved the potential sale of three weapons systems to Taiwan authorities, including sensors, missiles and artillery that could have a total value of $1.8 billion.
Last week, the White House said they were moving forward with five separate sales of sophisticated military equipment to the island with a total value of around $5 billion.
Among other weapons systems, Wednesday's formal notifications to Congress by the State Department were for 11 truck-based rocket launchers made by Lockheed Martin Corp, called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), for an estimated cost of $436.1 million.
The notifications also covered 135 AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) Missiles and related equipment made by Boeing Co, for an estimated $1 billion, and six MS-110 Recce external sensor pods made by Collins Aerospace for jets, at an estimated cost of $367.2 million.
Further congressional notifications are expected to follow Wednesday's, including drones made by General Atomics and land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles made by Boeing to serve as coastal defense cruise missiles.
Sources have said the 100 cruise missiles stations and 400 missiles would have a cost of about $2 billion.
The formal notification gives Congress 30 days to object to any sales, but Reuters said this is unlikely given broad bipartisan support for Taiwan.
China has repeatedly warned the U.S. not to move forward the arms sales as the two countries' relations are under strain since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said last week that U.S. arms sales to China's Taiwan region severely damaged China's sovereignty and security interests.
The United States is seriously violating the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiques, especially the August 17 communique, by selling arms to Taiwan, thereby seriously interfering in China's internal affairs, Zhao said in a daily briefing on October 13.
He urged Washington to cancel the planned sales and warned that China would make a legitimate and necessary response according to how the situation develops.