US President Donald Trump has confirmed he's approved the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, noting that the move still requires the approval of Congress.
"They are going to use it very responsibly," he said on Sunday, stressing that the deal was worth 8 billion dollars and would support jobs in the US. "It's a lot of money, it's a lot of jobs."
The deal is reported to be for 66 jets for Taiwan, a self-governed democracy that China sees as a renegade province. The sale could anger China, adding to the tensions between the world's two largest economies.
The approval of the deal came in the wake of the failure of US and Chinese negotiators to advance trade talks.
Members of both major parties in the US Congress have come out in support of the sale.
Taiwan's national defence ministry on Monday expressed appreciation to the Trump administration for the deal, saying it hoped the sale would receive US congressional approval as soon as possible.
The deal would enable Taiwan to improve its air defence capabilities and help secure the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the Asian Pacific region, the ministry said in a statement.
Australian Associated Press