National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that the $619 million sale of munitions to Taiwan will not impact weapons flowing to Ukraine.
A reporter had asked Kirby whether the US could fulfill the package given that the US defense industry is already struggling to fulfill munitions request for Ukraine.
Kirby said the arms sales to Taiwan, announced Wednesday, ensure that the island nation “has sufficient self-defense capability.”
“As for the impact of it on what we’re providing to Ukraine, there won’t be. Completely different systems,” Kirby said.
CHINA SAYS US ‘PUSHING THE ENVELOPE’ ON TAIWAN WITH WEAPON SALES
The NSC spokesman said munitions to Ukraine were being carried out largely through presidential drawdown authority, which allows the Pentagon to take weapons from its own stocks and quickly ship them to Ukraine.
“So, it’s a completely different process. Different systems altogether,” Kirby said.
The State Department’s approved sale of missiles to be used with F-16s and other equipment includes AGM-88 anti-radiation missiles, air-to-air missiles and launchers.
The approved sale comes as tensions between mainland China and the US are at their highest level in years over American support for the self-governed island, including visits by high-ranking politicians and a host of other issues, including a suspected Chinese spy balloon that traversed the US before being shot down last month.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory to be brought under its control – by force if necessary – and has been stepping up its military and diplomatic harassment. The sides split amid civil war in 1949, and China’s authoritarian Communist Party has never held sway over the island.
The United States is Taiwan’s leading supplier of military equipment, and China has objected to past sales with sanctions and other actions.
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Eleven arms sales are approved, delivering them can take years, and Taiwan has cited consistent delays in receiving weapons it has purchased.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.