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On July 18, US President Donald Trump approved the biggest arms sale to Taiwan since the start of his Presidency almost 3 years ago. The $2.2 billion in arms deal includes the sale of Abrams tanks and Stinger surface-to-air missiles. And in August, the US State Department approved another sale of $8 billion of F-16 fighter jets to the island state.
Though this is consistent with the history of US support for Taiwan’s defense, it also shows Washington’s willingness to confront Beijing even as US-China relations are at their lowest on account of trade war. China has threatened to impose sanctions on the main US firms involved in the sales and launched large-scale military drills close to the Taiwan straits.
Will Tsai Ing-Wen’s defiant stance against China pay handsome dividends ahead of the Presidential election in January 2020?