21:17 GMT +318 November 2018
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    US Navy Virginia-class attack submarine SSN 774 USS Virginia (US Navy photo)

    Just Business: Trump Allows Taiwan to Buy US Submarine Tech

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    In an apparent snub to Beijing, Taipei can now lay the keels for a new fleet of next-generation military submarines thanks to tech provided by Washington.

    In a move sure to stir up comment from China, the administration of US President Donald Trump has approved licenses required for American weapons corporations to sell military submarine technology to Taiwan.

    The island nation, sitting just 81 miles off the shore of its enormous foe, is upgrading its military posture following a growing fear that China is tightening its grip on the region, particularly as Beijing seizes maritime territories in the South China Sea.

    As a trade war initiated by Trump appears to be gaining steam, Taiwan's Central News Agency on Saturday reported the approval of new US sub tech licenses, according to Newsweek.

    Taipei Defense Minister Chen Chung-Chi confirmed that the US State Department had given the go-ahead for the sale of cutting-edge military submarine technologies.

    The US policy of American-Taiwan weapons sales — and the ongoing arming of the island nation in the face of the long-standing Chinese stance that Taipei is owned by Beijing and must be returned to mainland rule — is nonetheless "consistent" with previous US administrations, including that of US President Barack Obama, according to an anonymous source within the US State Department, cited by Reuters.

    "Our longstanding policy on defense sales to Taiwan has been consistent across seven different US administrations," the official stated, adding, "This policy has contributed to the security of Taiwan and also supported the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

    In 2017 Taipei released the news that it would manufacture a fleet of eight new military submarines, just before Chinese President Xi Jinping met Trump in Florida.

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    Tags:
    military technology, China trade wars, diplomacy, coastal defense, submarine construction, weapons market, Taiwanese Navy, US Navy, Pentagon, Donald Trump, Chen Chung-chi, Washington DC, United States, Taiwan, Taipei, China, Beijing
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