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International Relations

The Trump administration is moving forward with an $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, American officials said on Friday. The move is certain to further anger China at a time when a long-running trade war between Washington and Beijing has upended relations between the world’s two largest economies and contributed to stock market turmoil.

The State Department told Congress on Thursday night, right after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had signed a memo approving the sale, officials said. Congress is not expected to object to the move. For weeks, lawmakers from both parties had accused the administration of delaying the sale to avoid jeopardising trade negotiations or to use it as a bargaining chip.

But trade negotiations held in Shanghai at the end of July led to nowhere.

Mr. Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, has been a longtime advocate of arms sales to Taiwan. Some analysts say China could retaliate by punishing U.S. companies with sanctions, which it has done in the past.

The sale of 66 jets to Taiwan would be the largest single arms package transaction between the U.S. and the democratic, self-governing island in years.NY Times

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