The United States plans to sell Taiwan US$1.42 billion in arms, the first such sale under the administration of Donald Trump and a move sure to anger China, whose help the president has been seeking to rein in North Korea, Reuters reports.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters the administration had told Congress of the seven proposed sales on Thursday.
“It’s now valued about $1.42 billion,” she said.
The package includes technical support for early warning radar, high-speed anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and missile components, the State Department said.
Nauert said the sales showed US “support for Taiwan’s ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability”, but there was no change to the US’s long-standing “one China” policy, which recognizes Beijing not Taipei.
The sale, which requires congressional approval, would be the first to Taiwan under Trump and the first since a US$1.83 billion sale that former President Barack Obama announced in December 2015, to China’s dismay.
The previous package included two Navy frigates in addition to anti-tank missiles and amphibious attack vehicles.
A State Department official said the latest package primarily represented “upgrades to existing defense capabilities aimed at converting current legacy systems from analog to digital”.
In a strong sign of congressional support, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee welcomed what he called the “long-overdue” arms sale.
“Sales of defensive weapons, based on Taiwan’s needs, are a key provision of our commitments as laid out by the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances,” said Rep. Ed Royce, referring to legislation and informal guidelines that steer US relations with Taiwan.
Earlier on Thursday, China responded angrily and said it had protested to Washington after a US Senate committee approved a bill calling for the resumption of port visits to Taiwan by the US Navy for the first time since the US adopted a one-China policy in 1979.
The bill also directs the Pentagon to help Taiwan develop an indigenous undersea warfare program and recommends strengthened strategic cooperation with Taipei.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the bill was in violation of the principles of US-China relations and called on Washington to halt military drills with and arms sales to Taiwan “to avoid further impairing broadly cooperative China-US relations”.
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