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New US F-16 fighters for Taiwan: $ 8 billion in sales approved



Administration officials and others familiar with the matter previously told CNN that the administration had unofficially approved the deal, but some officials warned it could still be withdrawn, citing uncertainty over US relations with China.

The new weapon – the largest U.S. sale to Taiwan for years – could further erode ties with Beijing as it views the self-governing island as part of China.

Beijing quickly hastened the proposed sale when it was first announced last week.

On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chuning said US arms sales to Taiwan undermine China's sovereignty and core interests.

China "strongly opposed it," Hua said, urging the United States to refrain from selling fighter jets and to cease military contact with Taiwan.

"It must be emphasized that the Taiwan issue affects the interests of China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and security," Hua said, adding a warning. "The US will have to bear all the consequences" if that doesn't stop arms sales, she said.

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] The deal received strong bipartisan support from Congress, including the Democrats' chairman and House Republican leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

"The sale of the F-16 to Taiwan sends a strong message about the US commitment to security and democracy in the Indo-Pacific," Democrat Elliot Engel of New York and Republican Rep. Michael McCauley said in a joint statement last week.

As China "intensifies its military aggression in the region, we must do everything we can to support our friends around the world," they said, adding that "they have every confidence that it will be supported by the bipartisan party." and the two-watt base. "

The fighters are seen as particularly troubling to Beijing as they would enhance Taipei's ability to potentially conduct military operations in the Straits of Taiwan, the narrow waterway separating China from Taiwan.

While the United States has long provided weapons to Taiwan as part of the 40-year Taiwan Relations Act, Beijing has often made these sales by protesting them as a violation of China's sovereignty, even though the Chinese Communist Party has never managed. Island.
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Last month, the Trump administration approved 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks and Taiwan's Stinger portable anti-aircraft missiles, a $ 2.2 billion weapons package.

Both types of equipment have been requested by Taiwan, which seeks to increase its defense spending as it faces increasing pressure from Beijing in the form of strained military exercises and efforts to strip Taipei of its other diplomatic allies.

A report from the Pentagon in May warned that Taiwan's traditional military advantages over Beijing in the event of conflict between the straits are being destroyed in the face of China's military modernization efforts.

Since 2010, the United States has announced more than $ 15 billion in arms sales to Taiwan.


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