U.S. plans to sell $6.4 billion in weapons to Taiwan

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced plans Friday to sell $6.4 billion in weapons to Taiwan, including helicopters and missile defense systems, a move that's certain to anger China, which considers the island nation a renegade province.

The proposed weapons sale to Taiwan, President Barack Obama's first, includes 114 PAC-3 missile defense rockets, 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, a dozen Harpoon antiship missiles, two mine-hunting ships and communications and surveillance equipment.

China is certain to protest the sale, although it remains to be seen whether it will move beyond rhetoric. The last time the United States sold arms to Taiwan, in 2008, China temporarily suspended Sino-U.S. military-to-military contacts.

Senior U.S. officials said the sales were made necessary by a 1979 law that requires Washington to provide defensive weapons to Taiwan and by China's continued buildup of missiles and other weaponry on its side of the Taiwan Strait.

After news of the impending sale leaked this week, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman reiterated Beijing's opposition.

U.S. plans to sell $6.4 billion in weapons to Taiwan 01/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 29, 2010 11:14pm]

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