State Department OKs $2 billion arms sale to Taiwan

State Department OKs $2 billion arms sale to Taiwan
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The State Department has approved the sale of over $2 billion in arms to Taiwan amid condemnation of China, which considers the island a territory, the Pentagon announced Monday.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on Monday notified Congress of the sale, which included 250 Stinger missiles and 108 General Dynamics Corp M1A2T Abrams tanks, according to a DSCA statement.

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“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security and defensive capability of the recipient, an important force for political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region,” DSCA said in the statement, adding that it is not projected to alter the region’s military balance.

The proposed sales were first reported in June when Congress was sent an informal notice of the proposal. The United States is Taiwan’s only arms supplier, and the ongoing sale will likely worsen Washington-Beijing tensions amid the ongoing trade war between the nations.

China was quick to condemn the move, with foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang calling the sale a “crude interference in China’s internal affairs, harming China’s sovereignty and security interests” and a violation of international law, according to Reuters.

“Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory and nobody should underestimate the Chinese government’s and people’s firm determination to defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and oppose foreign interference,” he added.

Taiwan’s Presidential Office, meanwhile, has praised the U.S. for the sale, according to the news service.

“Taiwan will speed up investment on defense and continue to deepen security ties with the United States and countries with similar ideas,” Chang Tun-han, a spokesman for Taiwan’s president, said in a statement, according to Reuters.