The trump administration is continuing the long practice of supplying arms to Taiwan. Al Jazeera News Channel reports that the present administration has agreed to sell Taiwan arms worth 1.42 billion dollars. The US will provide Taiwan with seven items including technical support for early warning radar, torpedoes, missiles, and components for SM-2 missiles.

A US official who requested that his name is kept anonymous said the deal could not be publicized at the moment as it will anger China. The president has requested China to help in reining the North Korean missile and nuclear program. The last Arms Deal was in 2015 when Obama was the president.

The deal at that time was worth 108 million dollars and was a direct sale to supply minesweepers to the Taiwan Navy. CNN International has reported this news.

The sale

The sale will require approval by Congress, but that should not be a problem. Most politicians in the USA are supportive of sales of arms to Taiwan. This is as per the Taiwan Relations Act.This act binds the USA to supply weapons for the defense to Taiwan. The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has welcomed the arms deal. He has said that the weapons deal was "long overdue."

US Navy visits

Matters have been compounded by the approval by the US Senate committee to resume visits by US Navy warships to Taiwan ports. These visits had been suspended in 1979 after the USA accepted the "one China" policy. This has angered the Chinese.

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Ambassador Cui Tiankai told reporters at an embassy reception"All these actions will certainly undermine the confidence between the two sides and run counter to the spirit of the Mar-a-Lago summit."

Historical perspective

The USA cannot abandon Taiwan. It is the refuge of the Kuomintang which had fought the Communists in China with American help. They lost is one of the tragedies of history and General Chiang Kai Shek the leader and opponent of Mao escaped to Formosa(Taiwan) in 1948. China has many times asserted its right to take over the breakaway island including by military force. They have been thwarted so far by the US 7th Fleet.

The arms deal was being discussed in March but was put on the back burner as Trump sought Chinese help to stop the North Korean nuclear and rocket program. Over the months Trump has been frustrated by the lack of Chinese effort in stopping the North Korean missile program. He has probably realized that what China says and does are two different things.