In a move likely to rattle Beijing, US approves sale of 18 torpedoes to Taiwan

A frigate launches chaff and flare during a drill at the sea near the Suao navy harbor in Yilan, eastern Taiwan. (File photo: AFP)

The United States approved the sale of 18 heavyweight torpedoes to Taiwan for $180 million, the State Department said on Wednesday, in a move that could further strain Washington’s already tense relationship with Beijing.

The US framed the sale as a mutually beneficial transaction.

“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.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app

The sale “will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region,” the statement added, a reference to Washington’s strategic priority of countering Beijing’s influence.

The MK-48 torpedoes -- which can be launched from a submarine -- are being provided from existing US Navy stock, the State Department said.

Taiwan has been ruled separately from the mainland since 1949 after the Nationalists lost a civil war to the Communists and fled to the island to set up a rival government.

Read more:

Taiwan president refuses China's 'one country, two systems' proposal

China sees red as Pompeo congratulates Taiwan president, says message ‘dangerous'

Taiwan will greet US media expelled from China with ‘open arm’: FM

Coronavirus: Taiwan firm to build Arizona chip plant in Arizona on US-China tensions

Beijing however views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to seize it by force if necessary.

Washington severed diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979 in order to recognize the government in Beijing as China’s only legitimate ruling body, but remains Taiwan’s main weapons supplier.

President Donald Trump has made it clear he will continue the practice.

China recently told France that a weapons deal with Taiwan would damage French-Chinese relations.

The deal is related to the 1990s sale of French warships to Taiwan, according to the Taiwanese press, which at the time led to a diplomatic crisis between Paris and Beijing.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: 06:58 KSA 09:58 - GMT 06:58
Top