Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng has said Taipei will abandon its plan to buy new US anti-submarine warfare helicopters produced by Lockheed Martin Corp, saying they are excessively expensive.
“The price is too high, beyond the scope of our country’s capacity,” the island’s defense chief said at a parliamentary hearing on Thursday.
Local media, however, reported that Washington rejected the sale, believing it was not in line with the island’s needs.
Washington has not fulfilled previous contractual obligations with Taiwan.
Despite showering US defense manufacturers with money, Taipei is still waiting for $14.2 billion worth of military equipment that it has already ordered from the US since 2019.
Recently delayed purchases include Howitzer artillery systems and Stinger mobile anti-aircraft missiles. The latter are in high demand as Washington is constantly sending new Stingers as part of its military aid to Ukraine.
But as Washington continues to fortify kyiv with weapons, some US lawmakers are increasingly concerned about Taiwan’s security and its ability to stand up to China, which considers it part of its territory.
“We need to make sure that we give Taiwan the assistance that they need so that they are not vulnerable to [Beijing’s aggression],” US Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said last month.
The United States has long been committed to protecting Taiwan’s independence. Most countries, including the US, have no official diplomatic ties with Taipei as Beijing regards the island as part of its territory and seeks reunification with mainland China.