US to sell arms worth $1.1 billion to Taiwan

The US administration of President Joe Biden has announced a deal worth 1.1 billion dollars to sell Taiwan missiles and other military equipment.

The administration said on Friday it had notified Congress of its intent to sell 60 anti-ship missiles, 100 air-to-air missiles and other arms.

Since a high-profile visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month, China has stepped up pressure on Taiwan, conducting large-scale military drills and sending fighter jets over the median line in the Taiwan Strait.

The US has criticized China for trying to change the status quo by using Pelosi's visit as a pretext.

Through the arms sale, Washington apparently aims to keep China in check by showing its commitment to Taiwan's defense.

The US Defense Department says the sale is expected to improve Taiwan's ability to respond to current and future threats. It says the arms will help strengthen Taiwan's interoperability with the US and others.

Taiwan's foreign ministry has welcomed the decision. It says this is the sixth arms sale the Biden administration has announced and the fifth this year, continuing its policy of recent years of normalizing such sales.

The ministry said the latest batch includes many missiles needed to strengthen Taiwan's self-defense and fully demonstrates the importance the US government attaches to Taiwan's defense needs.