U.S. Approves Proposed Major Arms Sale To Taiwan

Taiwan is slated to buy 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger missiles and other related equipment.
Posted at 3:43 PM, Jul 09, 2019

The U.S. State Department has approved a potential $2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan, despite China's disapproval.

Taiwan is slated to purchase 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger missiles and other related equipment.

It comes at a time when tensions are high between the U.S. and China over a trade dispute.

China says the U.S.' proposed agreement "grossly interferes in China's internal affairs and undermines China's sovereignty and security interests."

Taiwan broke away from China in 1949 and has been under its own democratically elected government ever since. But China, under the "One China" policy, views Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing has said it's willing to use force to regain control of the island if necessary.

The U.S. formally considers Taiwan's status as unsettled, though it has acknowledged the "One China" policy since 1979. That same year, the U.S. also passed the Taiwan Relations Act, which allows the U.S. to sell arms to the island for defense.

It's important to note that the U.S. has been selling arms to Taiwan for years. In fact, from 2000-2017 it approved more than $25 billion in "major arms sales" proposals to Taiwan, according to the most recent report from the Congressional Research Service.

Congress describes "major arms sales" as a transaction of major defense equipment over $14 million, defense articles or services over $50 million, or design and construction services over $200 million. 

The U.S. says the latest proposed sale would help modernize Taiwan's military. Lawmakers have 30 days to block or modify the sale.