Taiwan says looking to buy NASAMS air defense system from US

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Taiwan is looking to buy National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, from the United States to upgrade its air defense capabilities having seen how well they work in Ukraine, the island’s defense minister said on Tuesday.

China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has stepped up military and political pressure over the past three years to try to force the democratically governed island to accept Beijing’s rule.

NASAMS have been provided by the United States for use in Ukraine, with US officials saying they have had a 100 percent success rate in intercepting Russian missiles.

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The system, developed and built by Raytheon Technologies and Norway’s Kongsberg Gruppen is a short- to medium-range ground-based air defense system that protects against drone, missile, and aircraft attack, which both Canada and Lithuania have also bought, or are buying for Ukraine.

Asked on the sidelines of parliament about Taiwan buying NASAMS, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said “certainly” there was a proposal to get them.

“This work must be done in accordance with the enemy situation,” he said. “We have seen from the Russia-Ukraine war that these weapons definitely have good performance.”

However, Taiwan has not received any official notification from the US that they will sell NASAMS to Taipei, Chiu said.

“But we need this work to be done as soon as possible.”

The US, Taiwan’s main foreign source of weapons, formally makes notifications to the island about the arms Washington is willing to sell.

The US is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, despite a lack of formal diplomatic relations. China routinely denounces such arms sales.

Taiwan’s military has been paying close attention to the war in Ukraine for lessons on defending against a much larger opponent, for example by the use of drones.

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