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US backs anti-ship missiles sale to Taiwan amid soaring tensions with China

By The Print

The State Department signaled its approval for a potential $2.4 billion sale of anti-ship missiles to Taiwan, a move certain to anger Beijing and raise tensions further between the U.S. and China days before the American election.

The Trump administration said in a statement Monday that it has notified Congress that it backs the proposed sale of as many as 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems built by Boeing Co., which include 400 land-based missiles.

The new Harpoon anti-ship missiles are intended to be launched from ground-mobile launchers, adding to Taiwan’s arsenal of air and submarine-launched Harpoons from earlier sales.

“The United States maintains an abiding interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and considers the security of Taiwan central to the security and stability of the broader Indo-Pacific region,” the State Department said in a statement.

The move comes as already-high tensions between the U.S. and China soar even higher. China said earlier that it would impose unspecified sanctions on Boeing’s defense unit, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp. after the U.S. State Department approved $1.8 billion in arms sales to Taiwan last week and made a previous announcement of 66 new F-16 jets.

Taiwan thanked the U.S. for the latest arms sale in a statement posted Tuesday on the Presidential Office website.

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