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Taiwan welcomes fourth US arms sale worth $120 million

The flags of Chinese Taipei and the US are placed for a meeting in Taipei, on March 27, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

The US has approved a $120 million sale of naval equipment to Taiwan to boost the self-ruled island's "combat readiness" amid heightened tensions with China.  

The equipment would help Taiwan's ships "maintain proper equipment... and meet the practical needs of combat readiness tasks in light of recent frequent activities by Chinese aircraft and warships around our sea and air," Taipei's defense ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The ministry further said the deal demonstrated that the US had attached great importance to enhancing what it called Taiwan's self-defense capability, adding that it also showed Washington’s continued policy of normalizing arms sales to the self-governed island.

According to Taipei, the deal is expected to take effect in one month.

On Wednesday, Washington announced that it approved the sale of unclassified spare and repair parts for ships and ship systems, logistical technical assistance, as well as other related equipment to Taiwan.

"The proposed sale will contribute to the sustainment of the recipient's surface vessel fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats," the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

The package will "contribute to the recipient's goal of maintaining its military capability while further enhancing interoperability with the US and other allies," it added.

The latest deal is the third arms package offered to Taiwan this year, and the fourth since US President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.

Taiwan falls under China’s sovereignty, and under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries — the US included — recognize that sovereignty.

But, in violation of its own stated policy and in an attempt to irritate Beijing, Washington has maintained and recently ramped up its diplomatic contact with the self-proclaimed government in Taipei. Washington is also the island’s largest weapon supplier.

Tensions between Taiwan and China have been at their highest in decades. China has been flying fighter jets close to the island while the US has reportedly deployed troops in the territory in the past year for training purposes.

Back in May, Biden said he would be willing to use force to militarily defend Taipei if it were attacked by Beijing.

The White House has since insisted the US policy of "strategic ambiguity" over its response to such an attack has not changed.

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