Published: Thu, September 27, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

U.S. approves $330m military sale to Taiwan

U.S. approves $330m military sale to Taiwan

China and Taiwan split in 1949 after Chaing Kai-shek's Nationalist forces were driven off the mainland by Mao Zedong's Communists and sought refuge on the island of Taiwan.

Taiwan has welcomed the move, and said that the deal helps the independent nation off the coast of China strengthen its defenses and deal with the challenges from Beijing.

The $330 million approval covers a request for spare parts for "F-16, C-130, F-5, Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), all other aircraft systems and subsystems, and other related elements of logistics and program support", the Pentagon said, adding that it notified Congress of the possible sale.

China lashed out at the deal, saying it "severely violates" global laws and norms governing foreign relations, and expressed "strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition" to the sales.

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) expressed gratitude for the move, saying it will beef up Taiwan's self-defense capabilities and shows that Washington is keeping its promise to Taipei to provide defensive weapons under the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances.

A Pentagon statement Monday said the sale will improve Taiwan's ability to defend itself without altering the basic military balance in Asia.

U.S. military deals to self-ruled Taiwan, which China guarantees as its region, is an aggravation in the relations between the world's two biggest economies.

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China has stepped up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan since the Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen took office two years ago, including staging a series of military exercises near the island. It had previously warned Washington against selling weapons to Taiwan and establishing military relations with the island, and remains locked in a trade war with the US.

"The island would continue to "stay in close communication and cooperation" with Washington for issues including security", said Taiwan's Presidential Office in a statement while thanking the United States for its support.

The approval of the sale comes amid heightened tensions between China and the U.S. over a range of issues.

Beijing and Washington are also at odds over China's wooing of Taiwan's diplomatic allies.

The announcement of the sale also occurred the same day as the Trump administration's tariffs against Chinese goods came into effect.

The move brings the amount of Chinese goods hit by duties to more than $250 billion, roughly half of China's USA exports.

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