Trump administration sells $1.4B in arms to Taiwan, leaves China 'outraged'

WASHINGTON, June 29 (Reuters) - The United States plans to sell Taiwan $1.42 billion in arms, the first such sale under the administration of Donald Trump and a move sure to anger China, whose help the president has been seeking to rein in North Korea.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters the administration had told Congress of the seven proposed sales on Thursday.

"It's now valued about $1.42 billion," she said.

RELATED: Where in the world is the US military

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Where in the world is the US military

U.S .troops are deployed in hotspots around the world, including places like Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

Photo Credit: Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock/US Air Force

Here's a look at some of the most significant deployments for American soldiers.

In Afghanistan, approximately 9,800 US soldiers are taking part in Resolute Support, which aims to train, advise, and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions in their fight against the Taliban and other terrorist networks.

In Iraq, about 4,000 to 6,000 soldiers are taking part in Operation Inherent Resolve, which aims to eliminate the Islamic State. Only 5,262 US troops are authorized to be in Iraq, but the actual numbers have been larger for a while as commanders leverage what they call temporary — or "nonenduring" — assignments like the one involving the 82nd Airborne in Mosul.

In Syria, 500 U.S. special forces and 250 Rangers are working in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The Pentagon is also mulling sending an additional 1,000 US service members to the war-torn country.

In Kuwait, about 15,000 soldiers are spread among Camp Arifjan, Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, and Ali Al Salem Air Base. About 3,800 soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team also deployed there late last year.

In Poland, about 3,500 soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team are stationed as part of Atlantic Resolve, which seeks to halt Russian aggression. These soldiers will help train local forces and provide security, eventually fanning out to other countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary to do the same.

In Ukraine, approximately 250 Oklahoma National Guardsmen are training Ukrainian forces in support of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.

In Somalia, about 40 U.S. soldiers from the 101st Airborne division are assisting the central government in training its forces and fighting the terrorist group al-Shabab.

Photo Credit: Skye Gould/Business Insider

Of the U.S. Navy's seven fleets, three are deployed in or near potential hotspots around the world.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josue L. Escobosa/Released

The Navy's 6th Fleet is stationed around the Strait of Gibraltar; the 5th is by Saudi Arabia; and the 7th is near Japan and the Pacific Ocean.

 The USS Carney, Ross, Porter, and Donald Cook are part of the 6th Navy Fleet, which contains 17 ships and 12,638 sailors. 

The USS Bataan and George H.W. Bush are part of the 5th, which consists of 24 ships and 16,731 service members. The Bush is patroling the Persian Gulf, while the Bataan is south of Yemen. 

The USS Reagan, Bonhomme Richard, Carl Vinson, and Makin Island are part of the 7th, which consists of 53 ships and 37,935 sailors. 

Photo Credit: Skye Gould/Business Insider

U.S. Marines are deployed around the world to help counter the Islamic State. Some are also deployed in efforts to contain Russia and to provide security.

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Here are some of the most important Marine deployments.

In Syria, approximately 400 Marines are taking part in Operation Inherent Resolve.

In Afghanistan, 300 Marines are taking part in Resolute Support.

In South Sudan, approximately 40 U.S. Marines are providing security to the U.S. Embassy. 

In Norway, about 300 Marines are stationed as part of a bilateral agreement between Oslo and Washington to undergo winter training and reinforce Norway's border with Russia.

Photo Credit: Skye Gould/Business Insider

While the U.S. Air Force is deployed in bases worldwide, the service most recently sent two F-35s each to Bulgaria and Estonia.

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force/Osakabe Yasuo

This is where the Air Force has a significant presence.

Two F-35s were recently deployed to Bulgaria for training and "reassuring allies and partners of U.S. dedication to the enduring peace and stability of the region." Another two F-35s recently deployed to Europe and will visit multiple NATO countries in support of European Reassurance Initiative.

Four hundred airmen from the 5th Bomb Wing recently deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Twelve F-16 fighters are in South Korea to "help maintain a deterrent against threats to regional security and stability." Multiple B-1, B-2, and B-52 bombers are also stationed there.

Photo Credit: Skye Gould/Business Insider

Here's a view from across the military. In total, about 69,300 troops are assigned to Pacific Command, with 41,990 in Central Command, 34,520 in European Command, and 9,150 assigned to Africa Command.

Though we've shown you some of the most significant deployments around the world, it's worth noting that these graphics are not all-inclusive. We've kept off most traditional bases and training exercises, for example.

Photo Credit: Skye Gould/Business Insider

Here is a chart of the significant U.S. military deployments worldwide.

There are some other rather significant troops deployed to support in other service members in hotspots.

Thousands of U.S. service members, mostly airmen, are deployed in Qatar, where the U.S. Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base is located. 

In Jordan, 1,500 soldiers, a squadron of F-16s, a Patriot missile battery, and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems have been deployed because of the war in Syria. 

About 7,000 US military personnel, mostly sailors, are based in Bahrain, which is home to the 5th Navy Fleet. A large number of US airmen also operate out of the Shaykh Isa Air Base, where F-16s, F/A-18s, and P-3 surveillance aircraft are stationed.

Elements of the U.S. 379th Air Expeditionary Wing are based in Eskan Village Air Base in Saudi Arabia, where the 5th Navy Fleet also patrols. 

Photo Credit: Skye Gould/Business Insider

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The State Department said the package included technical support for early warning radar, high speed anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and missile components.

Nauert said the sales showed U.S. "support for Taiwan's ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability," but there was no change to the United States' long-standing "one China" policy, which recognizes Beijing and not Taipei.

The United States is the sole arms supplier to Taiwan, which China deems its own and has never renounced the use of force to bring the self-ruled island under its control.

Beijing has given Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen the cold shoulder since she took power last year because she leads an independence-leaning ruling party and refuses to recognize the "one China" policy.

On Friday, Tsai's office said that her government will continue "to seek constructive dialog with Beijing, and promote positive developments in cross-strait relations."

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"(The arms sale) increases Taiwan's confidence and ability to maintain the status quo of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," Tsai's office tweeted.

Asked about the sale at an event on Thursday evening in Washington, China's Ambassador Cui Tiankai said the United States was "incorrigible" when it comes to Taiwan, the official party paper the People's Daily reported on its website.

"But we should still continue to instruct (them) and continue advancing on the right track of China-U.S. relations because this is what truly fits with for both countries' long term interests," the paper quoted Cui as saying.

The sale, which requires congressional approval, would be the first to Taiwan under Trump and the first since a $1.83 billion sale that former President Barack Obama announced in December 2015, to China's dismay.

The previous package included two navy frigates in addition to anti-tank missiles and amphibious attack vehicles.

A State Department official said the latest package primarily represented "upgrades to existing defense capabilities aimed at converting current legacy systems from analog to digital."

Taiwan's defense ministry said the items would enhance air and sea combat capability and early warning defenses. It said Taiwan and the United States would continue to consolidate their security partnership to contribute to long-term stability in the region.

STRONG SUPPORT

In a strong sign of congressional support, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee welcomed what he called the "long-overdue" arms sale.

"Sales of defensive weapons, based on Taiwan's needs, are a key provision of our commitments as laid out by the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances," said Rep. Ed Royce, referring to legislation and informal guidelines that steer U.S. relations with Taiwan.

U.S. officials said in March the administration was crafting a big arms sale to Taiwan, but such talk died down as Trump sought to persuade Beijing to do more to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, an increasing threat to the United States.

Earlier on Thursday, China responded angrily and said it had protested to Washington after a U.S. Senate committee approved a bill calling for the resumption of port visits to Taiwan by the U.S. Navy for the first time since the United States adopted a one-China policy in 1979.

The bill also directs the Pentagon to help Taiwan develop an indigenous undersea warfare program and recommends strengthened strategic cooperation with Taipei.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman said the bill was in violation of the principles of U.S.-China relations and called on Washington to halt military drills with and arms sales to Taiwan "to avoid further impairing broadly cooperative China-U.S. relations."

RELATED: Early military moves of American presidents

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Early military moves of American presidents
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Early military moves of American presidents

President Donald Trump

On Thursday, April 6, President Trump ordered an airstrike against Syria, firing 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayat airbase. This is was not the first military move of Trump's presidency, but it is certainly a pivotal one given the president's previous stance on intervention in Syria.

President Barack Obama

On February 18, 2009, Obama made the first substantial military move of his presidency when he announced that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan would increase with 17,000 new troops by summer. A few days later, he made another military announcement, promising an end to the war in Iraq by August of 2010. Obama later made a speech in December of 2011 (one year later than promised) declaring the end to the war. Perhaps the most memorable military moment of Obama's presidency was the successful mission to capture and kill of Osama bin Laden.

President George W. Bush

As president, George W. Bush ordered America's entering into a war with Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 -- after the 9/11 terrorist attacks rocked the United States. Throughout the course of his two full terms, Bush would oversee the escalation of wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Bill Clinton

As president, Bill Clinton oversaw the deployment of military forces in multiple displays of humanitarian intervention -- including sending troops to Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia, Herzegovina. On June 26, in retaliation to an attempt to assassinate former President George H. W. Bush, the United States bombed Bagdad, Iraq.

President George H.W. Bush

Aside from overseeing what both he and then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called the "end" of the Cold War, Bush ordered a series of military actions throughout his presidency. On November 8, 1990, Bush increased the number of American troops in Saudi Arabia to 400,000. Most notably, though, Bush oversaw the beginning of the Persian Gulf War in January of 1991 -- which commenced with an American-led air attack on Iraq.

President Ronald Reagan

President Reagan oversaw a pivotal moment for U.S.-Middle East relations and ordered the invasion of Grenada to oust Marxists who had overthrown the government -- and to protect U.S. medical students on the Caribbean island.

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U.S. officials told Reuters this week that Trump - who alarmed Beijing after assuming office by breaking with decades of precedent and talking to Taiwan's president - was becoming increasingly frustrated with China over its inaction on North Korea and trade.

According to the officials, Trump is now considering trade actions against Beijing, despite having heaped praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping after an April summit.

Also on Thursday, Washington stepped up pressure on Beijing by imposing sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and accusing a Chinese bank of laundering money for Pyongyang.

Trump plans to meet Xi again on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany next week, U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters (Reporting by Arshad Mohammed, David Brunnstrom and Yeganeh Torbati; Additional reporting by J.R. Wu in TAIPEI and Christian Shepherd in BEIJING; Editing by Richard Chang, Jonathan Oatis, Paul Tait and Michael Perry)

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