The Trump administration has formally approved a major $8 billion arms sale to Taiwan involving 66 new F-16C/D fighter jets, the State Department announced Tuesday, a move that comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over a range of issues, including trade and Hong Kong.
Last month, the Trump administration approved selling 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks and portable Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Taiwan, an arms package valued at $2.2 billion.
Both types of equipment had been requested by Taiwan, which has moved to boost its defense spending as it faces increasing pressure from Beijing in the form of ramped-up military drills and efforts to strip Taipei of its remaining diplomatic allies.
A Pentagon report in May warned that Taiwan’s traditional military advantages over Beijing in the event of a cross-strait conflict were eroding in the face of China’s military modernization efforts.
Since 2010, the US has announced more than $15 billion in arms sales to Taiwan.