The US has approved sale of $2.2 billion worth of arms to Taiwan, including 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, in the wake of Washington- Beijing trade tensions.
The sale serves “US national, economic, and security interests by supporting” Taiwan’s “continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” said the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency Monday.
The agency further described Taiwan as “an important force for political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”
Some 250 Stinger missiles are also in the batch along with some other equipment both reportedly requested by Taiwan.
The US has announced more than $15 billion in arms sales to Taiwan since 2010.
The new batch of arms is supposed to “greatly enhance our land and air capabilities, strengthen military morale and show to the world the US commitment to Taiwan’s defense,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in March.
The Chinese Defense Ministry said it was “firmly opposed to US arms sales to Taiwan and US military contact with Taiwan.”
Back in May, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency warned that “although China advocates for peaceful unification with Taiwan, China has never renounced the use of military force, and continues to develop and deploy advanced military capabilities needed for a potential military campaign.”
“Taiwan has historically enjoyed military advantages in the context of a cross-Strait conflict, such as technological superiority and the inherent geographic advantages of island defense, China’s multi-decade military modernization effort has eroded or negated many of these advantages,” it added.
The sale comes on the foothills of President Donald Trump’s frustration to ink a trade deal with China to promote as his legacy for the 2020 presidential election.