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Taiwan Calls for New Arms Deal with US

  • VOA News

A new U.S. report that says China is increasing its military might has prompted Taiwan to call on the United States to sell the self-ruled island more weapons.

Defense Ministry spokesman Yu Sy-tue says Taipei wants to buy F-16 fighter jets, diesel submarines and other equipment from Washington.

The United States approved the sale of a $6.4 billion weapons package to Taiwan in January and February meeting by President Obama with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, angered Beijing. China suspended all military exchanges with the U.S. over the arms sale.

A report issued Monday by the U.S. Defense Department says China is adding to its fleet of sophisticated submarines and surface ships, and building more missiles with various ranges, with a goal towards tipping the balance of military forces across the Taiwan Strait in its favor.

Taiwan has been a self-ruled island since 1949, when Mao Zedong's Communist China's Communist forces drove Chaing Kai-shek's Kuomintang, or Nationalist, Party off the mainland in 1949.

China still considers Taiwan part of its territory, and has threatened to use force if Taipei formally declares independence.

Yu says Beijing has never given up the use of force against Taiwan, despite improving ties under President Ma Ying-jeou, who took office in 2008 vowing better relations with the mainland.

The U.S. is bound by law to help Taiwan defend itself if it is attacked by China.