Stinger missiles reportedly arrived in Taiwan as part of a $500 million military aid package from the United States.
The Chinese-language United Daily News first reported the Thursday arrival of a batch of FIM-92 Stinger missiles, citing an unnamed source, according to the Taipei Times.
The air defense weapons were delivered in a Boeing 747 cargo plane at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the news outlet reported.
According to the Taipei Times, the package is believed to include weapons systems earmarked for Taiwan. Delivery was delayed due to the Russia-Ukraine war and COVID-19 supply-chain issues.
The Biden administration had already announced plans to send a $500 million military aid package to Taiwan, with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin telling lawmakers about the move last Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported.
It was known the weapons would come from existing U.S. stockpiles under the Presidential Drawdown Authority, but there was no announcement on which weapons would be part of the delivery.
Taiwan armed forces already operate variants of the missile, including the Dual Mount Stinger, the Humvee-mounted Avenger weapons system, and an air-launched version adapted for Apache attack helicopters, the Taipei Times reported.
Stingers are light, mobile air defense weapons that let the operator seek cover, relocate, or engage a new target immediately after firing. They can also be used as short-range weapons against aircraft flying at low altitudes.
Shu Hsiao-huang, analyst for the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told the Taipei Times that the backbone of the nation's air defenses is comprised of U.S.-made Patriot and domestically developed Tien Kung missiles, but lacks weapons effective against low-flying aircraft.
China views Taiwan, a self-governed island of about 24 million people, as its own territory and has continued to increase its military pressure there while working to modernize its armed forces quickly. Chinese officials have also suggested they're open to the possibility of pursuing "reunification" of Taiwan with the mainland by force.
On Saturday, a Chinese naval fleet led by the Shandong aircraft carrier transited through the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense announced, Focus Taiwan reported.
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