F-16 jets
© Reuters/Nicky Loh
F-16 jets at Taiwan's Chia-yi air force base
Despite extreme objections voiced by Beijing, the State Department has approved the sale of dozens of F-16 fighter planes to Taiwan, openly admitting that the move serves US economic and national security interests in the region.

The approval of the $8 billion sale by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DCPA) came just days after plans to supply 66 fighter jets to Taipei were greenlighted by the White House. In approving the proposed deliveries, the DCPA reasoned that additional arms will help maintain "political stability, military balance, and economic progress" in the region.
"This proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability."
The prospects of yet another weapons sale by the Trump administration to Taiwan, which still has to be approved by Congress, drew ire from Beijing, which repeatedly slammed all US attempts to arm the enclave, that China considers an integral part of the mainland.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, told reporters on Monday:
"Taiwan question concerns China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and core interests. China urges the US to fully recognize the highly harmful nature of the arms sales to Taiwan...[and] immediately cancel the planned arms sales, and stop selling weapons and military contact with Taiwan."
Last month, the US Department of State already approved a $2.2 billion arms package to Taiwan that includes M1A2T Abrams tanks as well as surface-to-air missiles.

Relations between Beijing and Taipei have deteriorated since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a member of the island's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, took office in May 2016. China suspects the leader to be seeking formal independence, with support from Washington.