This is its latest effort to boost the island’s defence as tensions simmer with China.
WASHINGTON: The US said Thursday it planned to sell US$440 million in ammunition and parts to Taiwan, its latest effort to boost the self-ruling island’s defence as tensions simmer with China.
The sale is comparatively small in scale and does not expand the range of US weaponry to Taiwan, but comes as the US and China move delicately to stabilise their turbulent relationship.
In a notification to Congress, the State Department said it would sell US$332.2 million in 30mm ammunition and related equipment to Taiwan and US$108 million in spare and repair parts for wheeled vehicles and weapons.
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The sales will help Taiwan “maintain a credible defensive capability” but “will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” it said.
The sale “will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region,” it said.
Congress has the right to reject the sales but such a move is highly unlikely, with lawmakers pushing for the US to go further and directly provide weapons to Taiwan rather than approving its purchase requests.
In a decades-long policy, the US sells weapons to Taiwan to ensure its self-defence but only recognises Beijing, which claims the self-governing democracy and has not ruled out seizing it through force.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a rare visit to Beijing earlier in June in which his hosts vowed no compromise on Taiwan, although the two sides voiced hope at keeping up communication to keep tensions from boiling over.
Beijing twice in the past year has carried out military exercises in waters around Taiwan in response to gestures of support by top US lawmakers.