President Tsai Ing-wen said in March that Taiwan was seeking tanks and jet fighters, but didn't provide any details. The requests include 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks, 1,240 BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles, 409 FGM-148 Javelin surface-to-air missiles and 250 FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, according to a MND statement. Indeed, reports that Taiwan waited to receive a green light from the US government makes sense, considering their intended purchase includes the firepower of a small army.
"We urge the United States to see high sensitivity and severe harm in selling arms to Taiwan, abide by the One-China principle and three joint communiques, stop arms sales to Taiwan as well as cut off its military ties with Taiwan", Geng said.
Taiwan has been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949 but China still views it as its territory and has vowed to take the island, by force if necessary.
However now the U.S. itself has clearly said it: Taiwan is a country, and the USA will address it as such.
A spokesman for the State Department said the USA government does not comment on or confirm potential or pending arms sales or transfers before they have been formally notified to Congress.
Taiwan's Defense Ministry confirmed it had requested those weapons and that the request was proceeding normally.
The US commitment to providing Taiwan with the weapons to defend itself helps Taiwan's military to raise its combat abilities, consolidates the Taiwan-US security partnership, and ensures Taiwan's security, the ministry said.
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The repatriation of the group - who are suspected of defrauding Chinese nationals over the phone from Spain - is likely to heighten cross-strait tensions as Taipei maintains its citizens should be sent back to Taiwan for investigation and trial.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that China firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan. It wasn't clear when the official request had been issued, after which the US has 120 days to respond.
Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro was one of the administration's architects of that policy.
At a low point, the U.S. Army had only one tank coming from the plant a month, General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic said during an April conference call with investors, but said "we'll be rolling out 30 tanks a month by the end of this year", partly because of worldwide orders.
Taiwan confirmed yesterday it has asked to purchase more than 100 tanks from the USA, along with air defense and anti- tank missile systems in a major potential arms sale that drew immediate protest from China.
"This position is consistent and clear", he said at the ministry's daily briefing.
Nevertheless the USA has furthermore sailed warships through the slim strait keeping apart China and Taiwan and has gotten allies to pitch in.