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China-Taiwan tension to flare up exceptionally as US approves new $500M arms sale to Taipei

Although the deal is modest in comparison to previous weapons sales, the move is likely to draw fierce criticism from Beijing, which regards self-governing Taiwan as a renegade province and refuses to rule out the use of force to reunify it with the mainland.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Washington Updated on: August 24, 2023 8:56 IST
China-Taiwan tension to flare up exceptionally
Image Source : AP/INDIA TV China-Taiwan tension to flare up exceptionally

Amid the soaring tension between China and Taiwan, the Biden administration has approved a $500 million arms sale to Taipei as it ramps up military assistance to the island despite fervent objections from China. The State Department, on Wednesday, said it had signed off on the sale of infrared search tracking systems along with related equipment for advanced F-16 fighter jets. The sale includes the infrared systems as well as test support and equipment, computer software and spare parts, it said.

Although the deal is modest in comparison to previous weapons sales, the move is likely to draw fierce criticism from Beijing, which regards self-governing Taiwan as a renegade province and refuses to rule out the use of force to reunify it with the mainland.

US says it will continue to modernise Taiwan's defence 

“This proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” the State Department said in a statement. "The proposed sale will improve the recipient's capability to meet current and future threats by contributing to the recipient's abilities to defend its airspace, provide regional security, and increase interoperability with the United States through its F-16 program," it said.

The announcement came just hours after Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen renewed a pledge to strengthen Taiwan's self-defence as she visited a war memorial from the last time Taiwan and China battled. Tsai visited the outlying islands of Kinmen where the conflict was fought 65 years ago, commemorating those who died.

Wednesday's State Department announcement also follows an angry Chinese reaction to the transit through the United States of Taiwanese Vice President William Lai on his way to and from an official visit in Paraguay last week. In recent years.

China considers Taiwan as its own 

It is worth mentioning Taiwan split with China in 1949 after a civil war. The ruling Communist Party says the island is obliged to rejoin the mainland, by force if necessary. Beijing says contact with foreign officials encourages Taiwanese who want formal independence, a step the ruling party says would lead to war. 

China has stepped up its military activity in the waters and skies around Taiwan, sending fighter jets and navy vessels near the island or to encircle it

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: China launches military drills around Taiwan as 'warning' after island's Vice President stops over in US

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