Exclusive: White House Moves Forward on Two More Arms Sales to Taiwan – Sources | World News

By Mike Stone, Patricia Zengerle and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is moving forward with more sales of sophisticated military equipment to Taiwan, telling Congress on Tuesday that it will seek to sell MQ-9 drones and a coastal defensive missile system, five sources familiar with the situation said.

The possible sales, which are likely to anger China in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. election, follows three notifications first reported by Reuters on Monday.

China considers Taiwan a wayward province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

The pre-notification to Congress for the MQ-9 drone case is the first after President Donald Trump’s administration moved ahead with its plan to sell more drones to more countries by reinterpreting an international arms control agreement called the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.

(Reporting by Mike Stone, Patricia Zengerle and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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White House moves forward on three arms sales to Taiwan – sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending in recent days a notification of the deals to Congress for approval, five sources said on Monday, while China threatened retaliation.

A general view of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The move in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. election, first reported by Reuters, is likely to anger China, which considers Taiwan a wayward province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the U.S. State Department which oversees foreign military sales, said the sources, who are familiar with the situation but declined to be identified.

The informal notifications were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations.

Notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines, to deter amphibious landings, have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said.

A State Department spokesman said: “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely damaged China’s sovereignty and security interests, urging Washington to clearly recognize the harm they caused and immediately cancel them.

“China will make a legitimate and necessary response according to how the situation develops,” Zhao told reporters in Beijing, without elaborating.

CONGRESSIONAL BACKING FOR TAIWAN

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.

Lawmakers, who are generally wary of what they perceive as Chinese aggression and supportive of Taiwan, were not expected to object to the Taiwan sales.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said it would comment only when there was formal notification of any arms sale. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said the government had not yet been formally notified.

“China continues to use military provocation to undermine cross-strait and regional stability, highlighting the importance of Taiwan’s strengthening of self-defense capabilities,” Ou said.

News that new arms sales were moving forward came after senior U.S. officials last week repeated calls for Taiwan to spend more on its

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White House moving forward on arms sales to Taiwan: Report

The White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending, in recent days, notification of the deals to Congress for approval, five sources familiar with the situation told Reuters News Agency.



a group of people standing in front of a military vehicle: The truck-based rocket launcher, also known as High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), is made by the US arms dealer Lockheed Martin [File: Francis Malasig/EPA]


© The truck-based rocket launcher, also known as High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), is ma…
The truck-based rocket launcher, also known as High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), is made by the US arms dealer Lockheed Martin [File: Francis Malasig/EPA]

The move in the run-up to the November 3 US presidential election, first reported by Reuters, is likely to anger China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province that it has pledged to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the US export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

Asked for a response to Monday’s news, the Chinese embassy urged Washington in an emailed statement to stop arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan, “lest it should gravely harm China-US relations and cross-Strait peace and stability.”

In the emailed statement, an embassy representative said: “China consistently and firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan and has firm resolve in upholding its sovereignty and security.”

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the US State Department which oversees Foreign Military Sales, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The informal notifications were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations.

Notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines, to deter amphibious landings, have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said.

A State Department spokesman said: “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defence sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”

Congressional backing for Taiwan

The US Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.

Legislators, who are generally wary of what they perceive as Chinese aggression and supportive of Taiwan, were not expected to object to the Taiwan sales.

Taiwan’s representative office in Washington said it had no comment.

News that new arms sales were moving forward came after senior US officials last week repeated calls for Taiwan to spend more on its own defence and to carry out military reforms to make clear to China the risks of attempting

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White House moves forward on three arms sales to Taiwan: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending in recent days a notification of the deals to Congress for approval, five sources familiar with the situation said on Monday.

A general view of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The move in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. election, first reported by Reuters, is likely to anger China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

Asked for a response to Monday’s news, the Chinese embassy urged Washington in an emailed statement to stop arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan, “lest it should gravely harm China-US relations and cross-Strait peace and stability.”

In the emailed statement, an embassy representative said: “China consistently and firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan and has firm resolve in upholding its sovereignty and security.”

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the U.S. State Department which oversees Foreign Military Sales, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The informal notifications were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations.

Notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines, to deter amphibious landings, have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said.

A State Department spokesman said: “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”

CONGRESSIONAL BACKING FOR TAIWAN

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.

Lawmakers, who are generally wary of what they perceive as Chinese aggression and supportive of Taiwan, were not expected to object to the Taiwan sales.

Taiwan’s representative office in Washington said it had no comment.

News that new arms sales were moving forward came after senior U.S. officials last week repeated calls for Taiwan to spend more on its own defense and to carry out military reforms to make clear to China the risks of attempting to invade.

It comes at a time when China has significantly stepped up military activity near Taiwan and as U.S.-China

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Exclusive: White House moves forward on three arms sales to Taiwan

By David Brunnstrom, Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending in recent days a notification of the deals to Congress for approval, three sources familiar with the situation said on Monday.

The move in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. election is likely to anger China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province which it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

In September, Reuters reported that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the U.S. State Department which oversees Foreign Military Sales, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The informal notifications were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations.

Notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines, to deter amphibious landings, have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said.

A State Department spokesman said: “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have had the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.

Taiwan’s representative office in Washington said it had no comment, and China’s embassy did not immediately respond.

News that new arms sales were moving forward comes after senior U.S. officials last week repeated calls for Taiwan to spend more on its own defense and to carry out military reforms to make clear to China the risks of attempting to invade.

It comes at a time when China has significantly stepped up military activity near Taiwan and as U.S.-China relations have plunged to the lowest point in decades as the U.S. election nears. President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, have both sought to appear tough in their approach to Beijing.

Speaking on Wednesday, the U.S. national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, warned against any attempt to retake Taiwan by force, saying amphibious landings were notoriously difficult and there was a lot of ambiguity about how the United States would respond.

The United States is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, but it has not made clear whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a

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Exclusive: White House asks Congress to approve three arms sales to Taiwan – sources

A general view of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending in recent days a notification of the deals to Congress for approval, two sources familiar with the situation said on Monday.

In September, Reuters reported that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the U.S. State Department which oversees Foreign Military Sales, the sources said.

A State Department spokesman said: “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”

There was no immediate comment from Taiwan’s representative office in Washington.

The sales notified to Congress were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Franklin Paul and Matthew Lewis

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House Committee Says State Dept. Tried to Hide Civilian Casualties in Arms Sales Report

The House foreign affairs committee released documents that its chairman said shows the State Department tried to “hide the truth” from Congress on the 2019 emergency declaration to seal more than $8 billion in arms sales to Gulf countries.



Joe Wilson, Eliot Engel are posing for a picture: Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks about a trip to Israel and Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of a bipartisan delegation from the House of Representatives on January 28 in Washington, DC. Engel released documents yesterday showing the State Department’s attempt to hide facts in the arms sales report into the 2019 sale of military equipment to three Gulf states


© Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks about a trip to Israel and Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of a bipartisan delegation from the House of Representatives on January 28 in Washington, DC. Engel released documents yesterday showing the State Department’s attempt to hide facts in the arms sales report into the 2019 sale of military equipment to three Gulf states

In a release, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), chairman of the House panel, criticized Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper, who is due to appear before the committee on Wednesday.

Cooper recommended in a July 10 memo to the department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that it “consider removing” from its inspection report an annex on civilian casualties to “resolve significant factual errors” which “may take time.”

Doing so would “allow that Report to be finalized, briefed to Congress, and released to the public,” Cooper wrote to Sandra Lewis, assistant inspector general for inspections at the OIG.

“The records we received today show just how hard the State Department wanted to hide the truth about last year’s phony emergency declaration,” Engel said in a statement.

“The picture is starting to come into focus: a top priority at Mike Pompeo’s State Department was to go around Congress to sell weapons, and his senior aides worked hard after the fact to obscure their indifference to civilian casualties.”

The documents also show that Cooper and State’s Deputy Legal Adviser Joshua Dorosin requested the OIG redact parts of the report on the grounds of “potential executive privilege concerns,” which the foreign affairs committee called “vague.”

The OIG responded to the request to say that “citing ‘potential Executive Privilege concerns’ does not properly invoke a claim of privilege that would justify the withholding of information that is otherwise appropriately released to the Congress and/or the public”.

Moreover, the OIG said some of the State Department’s “overly broad” requests for redaction appeared not to conform to U.S. Government practices for making redactions, including the department’s own Freedom of Information Act regulations.

It also said the redaction requests were applied inconcsistently across the report.

In May 2019, Pompeo issued an emergency declaration, bypassing congressional review requirements on arms sales, to sell military equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Congress had blocked the $8 billion in sales to the three Gulf states, citing concerns about the actions of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since 2015, including the high rates of civilian casualties caused by airstrikes using U.S.-supplied supplied weapons.

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WH tries to walk back Trump attack on Pentagon chiefs as beholden to arms dealers

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday tried to walk back an attack from President Donald Trump on the nation’s military leaders, claiming “the top people in the Pentagon” aren’t happy with him because he wants to get the U.S. out of wars while they are beholden to arms dealers.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the North Portico of the White House, Sept. 7, 2020, in Washington.


© Patrick Semansky/AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the North Portico of the White House, Sept. 7, 2020, in Washington.

Meadows told White House reporters Tuesday morning that he had spoken with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and other top officials, claiming they know Trump’s striking comments Monday weren’t aimed at them.

“Those comments are not directed specifically at them as much as it is what we all know happens in Washington, D.C. This president is consistent about one thing, if we’re going to send our sons and daughters abroad to fight on our behalf, he’s not going to let some lobbyists here in Washington, D.C., just because they want a new defense contract, suggest that they need to stay abroad one minute longer than they should,” he said.



Mark Meadows wearing a suit and tie: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to members of the press outside the West Wing of the White House on Aug. 28, 2020, in Washington, DC.


© Alex Wong/Getty Images, FILE
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to members of the press outside the West Wing of the White House on Aug. 28, 2020, in Washington, DC.

“That comment was more directed about the military industrial complex,” Meadows continued, adding that no other president has been as good as Trump at giving “the equipment to our military men and women that need it.”

Esper is a former defense industry lobbyist for Raytheon.

MORE: The Note: Erstwhile allies keep Trump on guard and off message

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville was asked directly Tuesday morning whether the military is beholden to defense contractors at a Defense One online event.

“Many of these leaders have sons and daughters who have gone to combat, or may be in combat right now. So, I can assure the American people that the senior leaders would only recommend sending our troops to combat when it’s required in national security in the last resort. We take this very, very seriously in how we make our recommendations,” McConville said.

At a White House news conference Monday, Trump, in attacking Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden, suggested “the top people in the Pentagon” — including men he chose — have a common interest with arms dealers in wanting to stay in “endless wars.”



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the North Portico of the White House, Sept. 7, 2020, in Washington.


© Patrick Semansky/AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the North Portico of the White House, Sept. 7, 2020, in Washington.

“And it’s one of the reasons the military — I’m not saying the military is in love with me — the soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy,”

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