Taiwan's Legislature sent a portion of a long-delayed U.S. arms deal package to a budgetary committee Friday, advancing its consideration.
The deal, which would help the self-governing island defend itself from rival China, has been blocked by the opposition for more than two years.
Friday's vote advanced a 6.3 billion New Taiwan dollar (US$196.9 million; euro149.1 million) portion of the total US$16 billion (euro13 billion) package by moving it to the budgetary committee.
From there, it must pass two more readings to become law.
The opposition parties have used their slight majority in the 219-seat Legislature to block the purchase of Patriot missiles, submarines and anti-submarine aircraft for two years on the grounds it would propel Taiwan into a no-win arms race with its communist rival.
But on Friday, the main opposition Nationalists joined the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to advance the deal in a 162-26 vote.
The move comes two months after Stephen Young, the senior U.S. representative on Taiwan, called on the Legislature to move the weapons package forward.
President Chen Shui-bian's DPP has long supported the weapons bill, saying it is necessary to help Taiwan deal with a decade-long Chinese military buildup.
China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949, and Beijing has threatened the use of force if Taipei formalizes its de facto independence.