President Biden approved the largest arms sale to Taiwan under his administration, as tensions continue to heighten between the United States and China.
The administration greenlighted over $1.1 billion in arms sales to Taiwan, which included 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles.
Congress was notified about the proposed sales to Taiwan on Friday.
“The package was in the works for some time precisely because we expected it would be needed as the [People’s Republic of China] increased pressure on Taiwan. It reflects the U.S. government’s assessment of Taiwan’s defense needs and the threat posed to it by the PRC,” said Laura Rosenberger, the White House senior director for China and Taiwan.
Ms. Rosenberger told CNN that the package contained weapons prioritized by Taiwan for their defense mechanisms against Beijing.
“As the PRC continues to increase pressure on Taiwan — including through heightened military air and maritime presence around Taiwan — and engages in attempts to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, we’re providing Taiwan with what it needs to maintain its self-defense capabilities,” she said.
China has urged the U.S. to revoke the deal. Beijing spokesman Liu Pengyu said the deal “severely jeopardizes” U.S.-China relations, and threatened “counter-measures” if the nation goes through with the sales.
“China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation,” Mr. Pengyu said.
The move also comes after tensions between Washington and Beijing rose following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s congressional delegation to Taiwan in early August.
This week, two U.S. Navy warships entered the Taiwan Strait in what’s considered the first U.S. naval transit in the waterway since Mrs. Pelosi’s visit.