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Iran Press TV

Obama authorizes $1.8 billion arms deal with Taiwan

Iran Press TV

Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:27PM

US President Barack Obama has authorized a $1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan, a move China strongly condemned within hours.

Obama formally notified Congress of the deal on Wednesday, a year after it passed the legislation approving the sale, according to Reuters.

The Naval Transfer Act authorized the sale of up to four Perry-class frigates to Taiwan in December 2014.

Under the new deal, the Pentagon will provide the Taiwanese military forces with two frigates, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles and other equipment.

This will mark Washington's first major arms sale to Taipei in four years as the island's primary arms supplier.

The announcement drew strong condemnation from China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province.

The US has said in the past that it will defend Taiwan in case of a possible military invasion by China.

Shortly after the deal was signed, China demanded its cancellation to avoid hurting Beijing-Taipei relations.

'We resolutely oppose sales of weaponry or military technology to Taiwan by any country in any form or using any excuse,' Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, told reporters at a regularly scheduled briefing.

David McKeeby, a spokesman for the US State Department, said Wednesday the deal will not change the US' longstanding 'one-China' policy.

"One-China" refers to an old dispute between People's Republic of China, controlling mainland China and two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau; and, the Republic of China which is now only in control of Taiwan and a number of other nearby island groups.

The move is attributable to the US-China row over the South China Sea, where China's artificial islands have prompted strong reactions from the US.

Washington has repeatedly questioned China's sovereignty claims over the sea, accusing Beijing of implementing what it calls a land reclamation program to gain more control over the South China Sea, which serves as a crossing for more than $5 trillion worth of maritime trade annually.

The deal raises new concerns in China as the US has recently announced a deal with Singapore to deploy US P-8 Poseidon spy planes in the Southeast Asian country to conduct reconnaissance flights over the sea. Beijing has said the move is aimed at militarizing the region.

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