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New arms from US to Taiwan: China to allow warplanes into…

New arms from US to Taiwan: China to allow warplanes into…

US approves supply of missiles for F-16 fighter jets The weapons are valued at $619 million. China has retaliated with several violations of Taiwan’s air surveillance zone.

The US has approved a US$619 million ($579.37 million) arms sale to Taiwan. Washington has several hundred missiles, including F-16 fighter jets, launch and control systems and other equipment, according to the Pentagon. “The proposed sale will contribute to the recipient’s ability to defend its airspace, regional security and interoperability with the United States.”

Since 1979, the U.S. has committed itself to the island’s Democratic Republic’s ability to defend itself, most notably arms supplies, angering the Chinese leadership. Beijing considers Taiwan only part of the People’s Republic and threatens to annex it. On the other hand, the government in Taipei has long considered the island independent.

Taiwan’s defense ministry on Thursday thanked the planned arms supply to help the air force defend its airspace against Chinese aircraft. The deal comes amid heightened tensions and increased deployments of the Chinese navy and air force near Taiwan.

China sends fighter jets to Taiwan

The Chinese leadership opposed these plans. The armed vessels “undermine Sino-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said in Beijing. China has called on the US to end arms sales and military ties with Taiwan.

China has also sent fighter jets near Taiwan in retaliation for the arms deal — the first time it has seen it in nearly two months. On Tuesday and Wednesday alone, three dozen Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s Air Surveillance Zone (ADIZ), according to the Ministry of Defense in Taipei.

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Later, in the first 24 hours of Thursday morning, 17 J-10 and four J-16 fighter jets were spotted in the southwestern part of the island’s air defense identification zone, the Taipei Ministry of Defense said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently eased military pressure on Taiwan. That’s because Taiwan is gearing up for elections early next year that could be won by the opposition Kuomintang, Beijing’s preferred negotiating partner.

However, US arms sales to Taiwan greatly anger China. Births are considered a trigger. In December last year, the People’s Liberation Army sent 47 aircraft to the ADIZ zone.

(APA/dpa/Bloomberg)