US approves over $1 bn in three weapons systems to Taiwan risking China backlash
Last week, China's foreign ministry had urged Washington to cancel the arms sales and warned that Beijing would 'make a necessary response according to how the situation develops'
Washington: The Donald Trump administration has approved the sale of more than a billion dollars worth of advanced weaponry for Taiwan in a move that will enrage China and further exacerbate tensions between Washington and Beijing that have are already heated over issues such as trade, Tibet, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.
The State Department announced Wednesday it had greenlighted the sale of 135 precision land attack missiles, associated equipment and training to Taiwan to improve its defense capabilities.
The package is worth just over a billion dollars, it said in a statement. The missiles are made by Boeing.
"This proposed sale serves US national, economic and security interests by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability," it said in a statement.
"The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability as well as military balance and economic progress in the region," it said.
"The recipient will be able to employ a highly reliable and effective system to increase their warfighting effectiveness as needed, which can counter or deter aggressions by demonstrated precision against surface targets," it said.
China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has reacted furiously to previous US arms sales to the island. The Trump administration has stepped up military and diplomatic support for Taiwan in recent months, including offering significant backing for its efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Washington announced its boycott earlier in the week, saying it was prompted by widespread rights abuses by China and what it sees as a "genocide" against the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.
The Solomon Islands are famous as a battleground of World War II, the pivotal Battle of Guadalcanal named after the country’ largest island where the restive capital Honiara is located
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan despite the island's self-governance for more than seven decades