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Taiwan Happy with US Aid Package, China Objects to Arms Sales

As China pleaded with Washington to cease sending weapons to Taipei, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday that she was pleased the U.S. Congress had approved a comprehensive foreign aid package that includes arms support for the island.

Even in the absence of formal diplomatic relations, the United States remains Taiwan’s most significant overseas supporter and arms supplier. China has consistently insisted that armament sales cease because it considers Taiwan to be its own territory.

Four bills that were passed by the House of Representatives were adopted by the Senate on Saturday by a vote of 79 to 18. Last week, House Republican leaders abruptly changed their position and permitted a vote on the $95 billion in aid, which is primarily military, for Taiwan, Israel, Ukraine, and other U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

Meeting visiting U.S. lawmakers at the presidential office in Taipei, Tsai referred to the passage of the bills at the weekend.

“We are also very happy that the Senate has just passed these bills,” she said.

Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said areas where the money is to be spent, such as training or equipment, would be discussed with the United States.

“The United States has expressed goodwill, and it needs to be negotiated between us,” he told parliament.

China says Taiwan, whose government rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims, is a purely internal matter and the most sensitive and important issue in ties with the United States.

In Beijing, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office expressed anger at the bills, which President Joe Biden said he would sign into law on Wednesday.

The bills “send the wrong signal to Taiwan independence separatist forces, and we are resolutely opposed to it”, spokesperson Zhu Fenglian told reporters.

“We urge the United States to take concrete actions to fulfil its commitment not to support Taiwan independence and to stop arming Taiwan in any way,” she added.

The strengthening of “military collusion” between the United States and Taiwan would not bring security for the island, China’s foreign ministry said.

“It will only push up tensions and the risk of conflict and confrontation in the Taiwan Strait,” said spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in China on Wednesday for a visit, with Taiwan likely to be one of the topics for discussion.

Taiwan has protested for the past four years about stepped up Chinese military activity near the island, including almost daily missions by Chinese warplanes and warships.

However, since 2022, Taiwan has complained of delays in deliveries of U.S. weapons such as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, as manufacturers focused on supplying Ukraine to help it battle invading Russian forces.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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