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Taiwan says it cannot afford new U.S. anti-submarine helicopters

Stock Markets May 05, 2022 01:56PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Navy MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter from the "Blue Hawks" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78 fires chaff flares during a training exercise near the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the Philippine Sea April 24, 2017. U.S.

TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan signalled on Thursday that it had abandoned a plan to buy advanced new anti-submarine warfare helicopters from the United States, saying they were too expensive.

Taiwan had earlier said it was planning to buy 12 MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters, made by Lockheed Martin Corp (NYSE:LMT) unit Sikorsky, but domestic media said the United States had rejected the sale as not being in line with the island's needs.

Asked in parliament about recent changes to Taiwan's purchases of new U.S. weapons, Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng mentioned the helicopter case first.

"The price is too high, beyond the scope of our country's ability," he said.

Two other arms purchases have also been delayed - M109A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer artillery systems, and mobile Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

The Raytheon Technologies (NYSE:RTX)' Stingers are in hot demand in Ukraine, where they have been used against Russian aircraft, but U.S. supplies have shrunk and there are significant hurdles to producing more of the anti-aircraft weapons.

Chiu said they had already signed the contract for the Stingers and paid for them, and they would press the United States to deliver them.

"We don't view arms sales as a trifling matter, and we have back-up plans," he added, without elaborating.

Taiwan says the United States has offered it alternatives to the M109A6, including truck-based rocket launchers made by Lockheed Martin called the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

Chiu said they were still considering their options on that.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson declined to comment on specific platforms but said: "The United States' swift provision to Taiwan of defensive weaponry ... is essential for Taiwan's security, and we will continue to work with industry to support that goal."

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, is undertaking a military modernisation programme to improve its capabilities to fend off a Chinese attack, including with precision weapons like missiles.

President Tsai Ing-wen has championed the concept of "asymmetric warfare", which involves developing high-tech, highly mobile weapons that are hard to destroy and can deliver precision attacks.

U.S. officials have been pushing Taiwan to modernise its military so it can become a "porcupine" that is hard for China to attack.

China has been ramping up its own military modernisation and pressure against Taiwan as it seeks to force the democratically governed island to accept Beijing's rule.

Chiu said that recently - without giving a timeframe - there were many "enemy ships" in the waters around Taiwan, which "in principle stand off" with Taiwanese forces. He did not give details.

Eight Chinese naval vessels, including the aircraft carrier the Liaoning, passed between islands in Japan's southern Okinawa chain on Monday, an area that is to Taiwan's northeast.

Taiwan says it cannot afford new U.S. anti-submarine helicopters
 

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Comments (5)
Marco Sandri
Marco Sandri May 05, 2022 4:20PM ET
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The comedian got 33 billions in one day
Marec Huber
Marec Huber May 05, 2022 4:13PM ET
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A dilemma,spend the funds you may not have to deter and help defend your freedom as necessary ?Or risk losing it, realizing you should have funded it anyway, regretting it later by losing the country ,due to poor leadership not realizing the outcome of a landgrab that you should have done as much as reasonably possible ? Resulting in the same mistake world leadership did regarding Ukraine !Costing lives and funds unnecessarily.Beef up the border or we all may be sorry to have provided the perception to China that they could win it.
Gamer Turtle
GamerTurtle May 05, 2022 2:28PM ET
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Waste of time and money. If China were to invade Taiwan, Taiwan won't be able to put up a fight without US anyway. If US were to help Taiwan, why bother to buy anything, just have US station more helicopters on the island and fight for you guys. sigh~ The reality is US needs Taiwan more than Taiwan needs the US, US needs a friendly Taiwan so US can continue to monitor the region and meddle with Asian affair with cause. Taiwan should be able to get these helicopters with huge discount if not free.
Karl Kessler
Karl Kessler May 05, 2022 2:28PM ET
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Solution is to pack up the semiconductor fabs, ship them back here, and let China do whatever they want.
First Last
First Last May 05, 2022 2:28PM ET
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The US is less likely to help Taiwan if the CCP invades if Taiwan doesn't put up a good, delaying fight.
First Last
First Last May 05, 2022 2:28PM ET
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The CCP's 9-dash line & militarizing other countries' islands (after promising not to) is meddling in the US right to travel international waters.  That's "cause".
Stephen Fa
Stephen Fa May 05, 2022 7:54AM ET
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Hell, the US can't afford them either. The US just "mortgages" their children's future.
Edward Chong
Edward Chong May 05, 2022 12:52AM ET
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taiwan is very very rich. its unlikely they cant afford.
Evidence Mabasa
Evidence Mabasa May 05, 2022 12:52AM ET
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why don't you invest more
 
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