U.S. Defense Department proposes sale of weapons, helicopters and ships to Taiwan worth more than $6 billion.

The U.S. Defense Department today proposed to sell Taiwan weapons,…

The U.S. Defense Department today proposed to sell Taiwan weapons, helicopters and ships worth more than $6 billion, a move that may complicate the Obama administration’s plans to improve ties with China.

The proposal includes advanced Lockheed Martin Corp. Patriot missiles at a cost of $2.8 billion, UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters costing $3.1 billion made by United Technologies Corp., and Boeing Co. Harpoon missiles at a cost of $37 million.
The proposal doesn’t grant a long-standing request from Taiwan to buy Lockheed F-16 fighters.

The Pentagon notified Congress today of the proposal, and lawmakers have 30 days to object to the sale.

The U.S. provides armaments to the island nation for its self-defense under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, irritating China so much that it cut off military talks after the last sale was announced in October 2008. President Barack Obama’s administration has sought China’s cooperation on Iran, North Korea and climate change, and defense talks resumed in July.

China is “firmly opposed” to the proposed sale, said Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington.
The sale would violate three communiqués that outline understandings between the two nations, Wang said in a telephone interview. “I believe my government will once again request the U.S. side to correct this wrong action to avoid damaging bilateral relations and cooperation between the two sides.”

Read more of Tony Capaccio and Viola Gienger’s article at businessweek.com.

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