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State Dept. approves $280M communications system sale to Taiwan

Two Taiwan Army F-16 fighter jets land during a military drill in Chiayi, southern Taiwan, in January 2016. Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE
Two Taiwan Army F-16 fighter jets land during a military drill in Chiayi, southern Taiwan, in January 2016. Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The State Department has approved a $280 million sale of Field Information Communications System to Taiwan, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced.

According to the DSCA, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States requested an FICS consisting of 154 communications nodes, 24 communications relays, eight network management systems as well as technical and logistics support.

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In October, the United States announced two potential arms deals with Taiwan totaling $1.4 billion, prompting a threat of retaliation from China should the deals go through.

"This proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic and security interests by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability," DSCA said in a press release about the new sale.

The sale is legal under the Taiwan Relations Act, which "declares it to be the policy of the United States to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan," the agency said.

Relations between the United States and China continue to be strained, with China warning of retaliation Tuesday after the U.S. imposed sanctions on 14 Chinese officials in connection with the crackdown on political dissidents in Hong Kong.

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