US to sell Taiwan US$180 million worth of torpedoes

TAIPEI: The US government has notified Congress of a possible sale of advanced torpedoes to Taiwan worth around US$180 million, a move likely to further sour already tense ties between Washington and Beijing, which claims Taiwan as Chinese territory.

The United States, like most countries, has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is bound by law to provide the democratic island with the means to defend itself. China routinely denounces US arms sales to Taiwan.

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The US State Department has approved a possible sale to Taiwan of 18 MK-48 Mod6 Advanced Technology Heavy Weight Torpedoes and related equipment for an estimated cost of US$180 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement on Wednesday (May 20).

"The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today," it added.

The proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting Taiwan's "continuing efforts to modernise its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability", the agency said.

The announcement came on the same day Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in for her second term in office, saying she strongly rejecting China's sovereignty claims. China responded that "reunification" was inevitable and that it would never tolerate Taiwan's independence.

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