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US Announces $2 Billion Arms Sale to Taiwan


Taiwan's military fire artillery from self-propelled Howitzers during the annual Han Kuang exercises in Hsinchu, northeastern Taiwan, Sept. 10, 2015.

Taiwan's military fire artillery from self-propelled Howitzers during the annual Han Kuang exercises in Hsinchu, northeastern Taiwan, Sept. 10, 2015.


The United States announced an arms deal with Taiwan Wednesday that includes ships, vehicles and assorted weapons.

The arms deal – worth nearly $2 billion - includes U.S. military equipment built in the 1970s. The Taiwanese will receive two navy frigates, amphibious assault vehicles and missiles.

After the announcement, China voiced its opposition with the deal. The Chinese called for a meeting with a high-ranking U.S. diplomat. China also threatened to impose sanctions on U.S. firms.

The Chinese filed a formal diplomatic protest late Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

“The United States should be fully aware that the arms deal to Taiwan is highly sensitive and dangerous,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei. “The U.S. should abide by its commitment and stop arms sales to Taiwan.”

China regards Taiwan as part of its country and views it as a rogue territory. The U.S. does not formally recognize Taiwan as an independent nation, but assists it with different types of aid.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said both Taiwan and China were kept informed and updated on the sale. He also said the U.S. will continue to improve relations with China.

“We still want to work to establish a better, more transparent, more effective relationship with China in the region,” Kirby said. “We’re going to continue to work at that.”

Congress has 30 days to review the arms sale. Most U.S. lawmakers approve of the deal. New York congressman Eliot Engel said the sale would contribute to peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The deal comes during land and international waters disputes in the South China Sea. China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim island territories in the waters.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Jim Dresbach adapted this VOA news report for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

What will this arms sale do to Asian tensions? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or visit our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

amphibious – adj. done by soldiers who are brought to land in special boats

frigate – n. a small and fast military ship

sanction – n. an action that is taken or an order that is given to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country or by not allowing economic aid for that country

rogue – adj. used to describe something or someone that is different from others in usually a dangerous or harmful way

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