Trump administration clears arms sales to Taiwan

Taiwan’s navy says its new ‘Rui Yuan’ long-range drone will boost its surveillance capabilities

The U.S. Congress was notified on Monday that the State Department had approved both potential sales, which include 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, plus related equipment, and some 250 Stinger missiles.

Last month, when the possible sale was first reported, China's Foreign Ministry said it was seriously concerned about United States arms sales to self-ruled Taiwan.

Taiwan's Presidential Office expressed "sincere gratitude" to the USA - which is the main arms supplier to Taiwan.

Taiwan's Presidential Office expressed "sincere gratitude" to the USA government for the arms sale.

The development is likely to draw criticism from China, who considers Taiwan as its territory even through Taipei has declared independence since the 1949 civil war with mainland China.

China has significantly stepped up diplomatic and military pressure on Taipei since the election in 2016 of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose Democratic Progressive Party refuses to acknowledge that the island is part of "One China".

NZ dollar recovers as market positions for Fed rate cut
U.S. consumer inflation data for June will be out on Thursday and the core reading is forecast to remain around 2% year on year. Asian indexes tumbled with the Shanghai Composite down 2.6%, Japan's Nikkei down 1%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng down 1.8%.

In recent years, Washington has been wary of completing big ticket arms deals with Taiwan, fearful of stoking China's anger.

The US commitment to providing Taiwan with the weapons to defend itself helps Taipei's military raise its combat abilities, consolidates the Taiwan-US security partnership and ensures Taiwan's security, the ministry said last month in a statement.

But the truce in the trade war reached between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at the G20 summit in Osaka and an agreement to keep talking may have allayed some of those worries.

"Taiwan stands in the frontline of China's ambitious expansion and faced enormous threats and pressure from Beijing", the statement said.

Taiwan would be massively outgunned in terms of troop numbers and firepower in any conflict with China, and has sought to upgrade much of its increasingly obsolete military equipment, especially its aging air force.

The tanks are valued at up to $2 billion while the portable surface-to-air Stinger missiles are estimated to cost up to $223 million.

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