The United States has approved a potential $1.1 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the Pentagon said Friday, in a move likely to worsen already strained relations between Washington and Beijing.
As Al Jazeera reports, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on Friday that the weapons package would include 60 anti-ship missiles, 100 air-to-air missiles and logistical support for a surveillance radar program.
While Congress could still reject the sale, it is unlikely to do so, as both major parties strongly support Taiwan. In any case, he has 30 days to review the data.
A spokesman for the US State Department, which approved the sale, said the arms package was “essential to Taiwan’s security”.
China on Friday called on the US to “immediately withdraw” the arms sales. Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said Beijing would respond.
Taiwan’s defense ministry thanked the US, adding that China’s recent “provocative” activities posed a serious threat.
It is not the first time the US has sold arms to Taiwan, but analysts say the timing of the new sale has “political value” amid heightened tensions between Taipei and Beijing.