US approves potential $1. 1bn weapons sale to Taiwan – Al Jazeera English

The United States approved the potential sale of $1. 1bn in weapons to Taiwan in a move likely worsen already heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The announcement came as two Chinese fighter jets on Saturday crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which normally serves as an unofficial barrier between the 2 sides, Taiwan’s defence ministry said.

A total of four Chinese aircraft and five Chinese ships were operating around Taiwan, it said.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said upon Friday the particular arms package would include 60 anti-ship missiles, 100 air-to-air missiles and contractor logistics support for a surveillance radar programme.

US news outlet Politico first reported earlier this week on the possible US weaponry deal. While Congress can still disapprove the sale, it is unlikely to do so as ALL OF US lawmakers from both major parties strongly support Taiwan.

A spokesperson for the US Department of State, which approved the particular sale, stated the package was “essential for Taiwan’s security”.

“These proposed sales are routine cases to support Taiwan’s continuing efforts to modernise its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability, ” the spokesperson said.

The Pentagon’s announcement comes amid strained relations between the US plus China, which has not ruled out the use of force to take control of Taiwan, the self-governed island that China views as part of its territory.

China called on Friday for the US to “immediately revoke” the arms sales.

Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, mentioned Beijing would respond.

“It sends wrong signals in order to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and severely jeopardises China-US relations and peace plus stability across the Taiwan Strait, ” he said.

“China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation. ”

Taiwan’s defence ministry expressed thanks to the US ALL, adding that China’s recent “provocative” activities represented a serious threat and the arms purchase would help it face China’s military pressure.

“At the same time, it also demonstrates that it will help our country strengthen the overall protection capabilities and jointly maintain the security plus peace of the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region, ” the ministry said in a statement.

‘Playing with fire’

The US is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, and President Joe Biden has said Wa would use force to defend the tropical isle if it is attacked.

The relationship among Washington and Beijing has deteriorated in the past few years as the US prioritised strategic competition with The far east in its foreign policy under former Chief executive Donald Trump, a position fully embraced by Biden.

Meanwhile, China offers warned the particular Biden administration that it is “playing with fire” over Taiwan.

China staged unprecedented military drills in the sea plus air around the island following a contentious visit last month simply by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Beijing had threatened “serious consequences” if Pelosi – the highest ranking ALL OF US official to travel to Taiwan in 25 years – went ahead with her visit .

Ross Feingold, an Asia political risk analyst, told Al Jazeera that the US has provided weaponry to Taiwan for “many, many decades”, but the timing of the new sale had “political or public relations value” coming amid heightened tensions between Taipei and Beijing.

“To be frank this sale is relatively small”, Feingold said, speaking from Taipei, and noting that the bulk of the sale is related to the maintenance of existing radar facilities.

Feingold said that China is likely to respond, and has already started with statements.

Beijing could also, he said, launch more incursions in Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, start new army exercises, ban certain Taiwanese products through being imported to Tiongkok, impose sanctions against ALL OF US and Taiwanese government officials, or take action against PEOPLE companies doing business in Cina.

“So China and taiwan always has the options, of using any of those tools. It won’t stop this particular weapons sale though, ” this individual said.

On Thursday, Taiwan’s military declared that it shot down a good unidentified civilian drone that will entered its airspace near the outlying Kinmen islands, which usually sit next door to China’s Xiamen city.

While China accused Taiwan of trying to “hype up tensions” over the incident, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang defended the military’s actions as “appropriate” after repeated warnings.

Tu told reporters Taiwan experienced repeatedly asked China “not to encroach on our doorstep”.

“They repeatedly ignored our warnings to leave and we had no choice but to exercise self-defence and shoot, ” Su stated. “This is the most appropriate reaction after repeated restraint plus warnings. ”

The US State Department spokesperson said on Friday that Washington “will continue to assistance a peaceful resolution associated with cross-Strait issues, consistent with the particular wishes and best interests from the people of Taiwan”.

“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic plus economic stress against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan, ” the spokesperson said.

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