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US State Dept approves potential $2.2-B arms sale to Taiwan

/ 09:29 AM July 09, 2019

(FILES) A file photo taken on May 9, 2019, shows an Australian army M1A1 Abrams main battle tank firing a round at a target during Excercise Chong Ju, a live fire demonstration showcasing the army’s joint combined arms capabilities at the Puckapunyal Military Base some 100 kilometres north of Melbourne. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)

WASHINGTON — The US State Department has approved the potential sale to Taiwan of $2.2 billion in arms, including Abrams tanks and Stinger missiles, the Pentagon said on Monday.

The announcement is likely to anger Beijing, which views Taiwan as part of its territory and has previously expressed “serious concerns” about the possible sale.

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Congress has been notified about the potential deal, which would include 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, some 250 Stinger missiles, related equipment and support, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

US lawmakers have 30 days to object to the sale but are unlikely to do so.

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The proposed tank sale “will contribute to the modernization of the recipient’s main battle tank fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense,” DSCA said in a statement.

And the missiles would “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,” it said.

Neither would alter the “basic military balance in the region,” according to DSCA.

Beijing registered its opposition to the possible sale earlier this month.

“We have repeatedly emphasized to the US to fully understand the extremely sensitive and damaging nature of their decision to sell arms to Taiwan, and abide by the One China principle,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.  /muf

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TAGS: Arms, China, sale, U.S. Taiwan
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