US approves first arms sale to Taiwan under Donald Trump; deal worth $1.4 billion likely to anger China

The US State Department has approved arms sales to Taiwan worth $1.4 billion, the first such deal with the self-governing island under President Donald Trump.

AP June 30, 2017 10:56:10 IST
US approves first arms sale to Taiwan under Donald Trump; deal worth $1.4 billion likely to anger China

Washington: The US State Department has approved arms sales to Taiwan worth a total of $1.4 billion, the first such deal with the self-governing island since President Donald Trump took office, officials said Thursday.

The sale will anger China, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory. It comes at a delicate time for relations between Washington and Beijing over efforts to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea.

The sale to Taiwan comprises seven items, including technical support for early warning radar, anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and components for SM-2 missiles, according to a US official who requested anonymity to discuss the details before they were formally announced.

US approves first arms sale to Taiwan under Donald Trump deal worth 14 billion likely to anger China

Representational image. AP

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Trump administration had notified Congress of its intent to approve seven proposed deals now valued at around $1.4 billion. Nauert said the approvals did not violate the Taiwan Relations Act that governs US contacts with the island.

"It shows, we believe, our support for Taiwan's ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense policy," Nauert said. "There's no change, I should point out, to our 'one-China policy.'"

Taiwan's defense ministry on Friday thanked the US, saying, "The arms sale will help strengthen our country's self-defense capability and maintain the peace on Taiwan strait."

Lawmakers, which are generally strongly supportive of such sales, have 30 days to object. The US is legally obligated to sell weapons to Taiwan for its self-defense.

The US official said the sales represented upgrades, converting existing systems from analog to digital. The total includes roughly $1.3 million in transactions that are considered "foreign military sales," plus another commercial deal that also requires US government approval and brings the total to $1.4 billion.

The last US arms sales to Taiwan, worth $1.8 billion, were announced in December 2015. They included two decommissioned U.S. Navy frigates, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles and Stinger surface-to-air missiles, and was the first sale for four years.

China objected strongly, but it did not notably set back US-China relations and military ties, which has happened after past arms sales to Taiwan.

However, relations across the Taiwan Strait have deteriorated since then, as Taiwan last year elected a leader from an independence-leaning party, Tsai Ing-wen. China has increased diplomatic pressure, cut off its contacts with the island's government and discouraged travel there by Chinese tourists.

Updated Date:

also read

G7 & NATO summits: Disparities on China continue to pull US, EU apart; for now, B3W can’t replace BRI
World

G7 & NATO summits: Disparities on China continue to pull US, EU apart; for now, B3W can’t replace BRI

This time, on contentious issues such as Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Covid-19 and East and South China Seas, the G7 communique ticks all the boxes and manages to sound tough, signalling common ground between Europe and the US despite policy differences

Hong Kong pro-democracy paper Apple Daily confirms closure after authorities freeze assests
World

Hong Kong pro-democracy paper Apple Daily confirms closure after authorities freeze assests

Apple Daily has long been a thorn in Beijing's side, with unapologetic support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement and caustic criticism of China's authoritarian leaders

Iran election: Israeli PM calls Ebrahim Raisi 'hangman of Tehran', unlikely to change stance on 2015 nuclear deal
World

Iran election: Israeli PM calls Ebrahim Raisi 'hangman of Tehran', unlikely to change stance on 2015 nuclear deal

Raisi's ascendancy comes at a sensitive time for the region, as Iran and world powers resumed indirect talks in Vienna to resurrect Tehran's tattered 2015 nuclear deal which granted Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program