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Iran Press TV

US expected to sell guided missile frigates to Taiwan: Source

Iran Press TV

Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:6PM

The White house is said to be authorizing sale of guided missile frigates to Taiwan as soon as this week, congressional sources tell Reuters as tensions soar in the South China Sea, whose sovereignty is claimed by Beijing.

On Monday, the sources said that the administration of President Barack Obama would approve the sale of two guided missile frigates to Taiwan despite China's opposition to the deal.

'We're expecting an announcement as early as this week,' a Republican congressional aide said, however, another aide reported the notification from the administration was expected 'any time now.'

The move comes a year after Congress passed the Naval Transfer Act authorizing the sale of up to four Perry-class frigates to Taiwan in December 2014.

Taiwan has said it expects to pay about $176 million for two vessels for now before making a decision on the other two.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy said on Friday that China 'firmly opposes any arms sales from the United States to Taiwan. We urge the US government to stop selling arms to Taiwan to avoid hurting China-US relations and disturbing peaceful development of cross-strait relations.'

The sale would mark the first time in four years that the United States has shipped arms to Taiwan, the longest gap in such arm sales in nearly four decades.

Eliot Engel, the ranking minority member of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, called last week for more regular arms sales to Taiwan, despite China's political sensitivity on the subject.

'Our desire not to upset Beijing shouldn't come at the expense of Taiwan's security,' Engel said.

While the United States says it will defend Taiwan if China attempts to reunite with the island by force, China accuses Washington of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.

Washington's stance has sparked a decades-long military stand-off between China and the US.

Relations between China and Taiwan have got back on track since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in 2008.

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