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US announces arms sales to Taiwan

US announces arms sales to Taiwan

In a move sure to aggravate already tense U.S.-China ties, the Obama administration announced Friday plans to approve more than $6 billion in arms sales to Taiwan, the self-governing island China claims as its own.
The sale, posted on a Pentagon Web site, would include helicopters, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, mine hunters and information technology. US lawmakers have 30 days to comment on the proposed sale; without objections, it would proceed.
Taiwan is the most sensitive matter in U.S.-China relations, with the potential to plunge into conflict two powers increasingly linked in security and economic issues. The United States is Taiwan's most important ally and largest arms supplier.
China vehemently opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and has threatened to invade should the island ever formalize its de facto independence. A temporary break in U.S.-China military ties could follow the sale.
The package, however, dodges a thorny issue: the F-16 fighter jets that Taiwan covets are not included.
It includes 114 PAC-3 missiles and other equipment costing more than $2.8 billion; 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, costing $3.1 billion; information systems, at $340 million; two Osprey Class Mine Hunting Ships, at a cost of about $105 million; and other items.
The sale satisfies parts of an $11 billion arms package originally pledged to Taiwan by former President George W. Bush in 2001. That package has been provided in stages because of political and budgetary considerations in Taiwan and the United States.
The arms sale package will test the Obama administration's China policy, which U.S. officials say is meant to improve trust between the countries, so that the inevitable disagreements over Taiwan or Tibet don't reverse efforts to cooperate on nuclear standoffs in Iran and North Korea, and attempts to deal with economic and climate change issues.
China aims more than 1,000 ballistic missiles at Taiwan; the U.S. government, on the other hand, is bound by law to ensure the island is able to respond to Chinese threats.


Updated : 2021-06-17 15:29 GMT+08:00