Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported that the US State Department had approved the marketing license required for American manufacturers to sell submarine technology to Taiwan and assist Taipei with submarine development.
In brief remarks made to AFP, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi hailed the approval as a “breakthrough” and said, “It is part of a process. We’ll take it step by step,” without providing further details.
China did not immediately react to the US approval to provide Taiwan with military technology. If confirmed, the development is likely to anger China, which sees the island as part of its territory even though the two sides have been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.
China expects countries that have committed to the so-called ‘One China’ policy to have no official relations with Taipei and recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. The US has professed adherence to that policy since 1979.
The Trump administration, which has launched what is effectively a trade war with China, has previously angered China over matters related to Taiwan.
Last month, Trump signed new rules that would allow senior US officials to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa.
Beijing had earlier opposed the move, urging Washington to conform to the ‘One China’ policy and halt official exchanges with Taiwan to avoid “damaging Sino-US relations.”
Taiwan has adopted a hostile approach toward China since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, a member of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, in 2016.
Beijing suspects that Tsai seeks to push for formal independence, a move that would cross a red line for Beijing.
Tsai, however, has claimed that she wants to keep the status quo and that she is committed to ensuring peace.