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U.S. approves new $360 million arms sale to Taiwan for drones, related equipment

By Associated Press
Published: June 18, 2024, 7:37pm
2 Photos
Supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gather and push an ball reading &#039;&#039;Reject China&#039;s Interference In Politics&#039;&#039; outside of the legislative building in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, May 28, 2024.
Supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gather and push an ball reading ''Reject China's Interference In Politics'' outside of the legislative building in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying) Photo Gallery

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Tuesday approved a new $360 million weapons sale to Taiwan, sending the island hundreds of armed drones, missile equipment and related support material, the State Department said in a statement that is sure to draw condemnation from China.

The announcement was not unexpected but it comes at a time of high tension between Washington and Beijing, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to consolidate by force if necessary.

The sale includes 291 Altius-600M systems, which are unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, with warheads. It also includes 720 Switchblade drones known as “extended-range loitering munitions,” the department said.

It said the sale “serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability.” It will “help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region,” the department said.

The statement claimed that the transfer would not affect the military balance in the region. The announcement was not unusual, although the U.S. and China have in recent months sought to smooth tense relations.

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