US approves new military sale to Taiwan


BEIJING • The US approved the sale of military equipment to Taiwan on Monday, risking China’s ire as tensions escalate between the world’s two largest economies.

Taiwan welcomed the package, estimated by the Pentagon to be worth US$330 million (RM1.37 billion), which was proposed by its government last year and includes spare parts for F-16, C-130 and indigenous defence fighter aircraft.

It represents the smallest standalone offering to the self-ruled island since President George W Bush approved a US$125 million sale of anti-ship missiles in 2007, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

“This case-by-case approach in military sales could be more efficient than previous practices of big packages,” Chen Chungchi, spokesman for Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence, said by phone yesterday. “We hope military purchases in the future can be discussed case by case in order to enhance efficiency.”

The sale may further hurt US-China relations, which have deteriorated as President Donald Trump’s use of tariffs stokes fears of a long-term competition for global power between the nations.

The Chinese government has already called off a planned round of bilateral trade talks with the US, according to people familiar with the matter, and the countries imposed a new round of tariffs on each other on Monday.