The United States approved the sale of 18 heavyweight torpedoes to Taiwan for US$180 million, the State Department said on Wednesday, in a move that could further strain Washington's already tense relationship with Beijing.
The US framed the sale as a mutually beneficial transaction.
"This proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernise its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability," the State Department said.
The sale "will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region," the statement added, a reference to Washington's strategic priority of countering Beijing's influence.
The MK-48 torpedoes – which can be launched from a submarine – are being provided from existing US Navy stock, the State Department said.
Washington is Taiwan's main weapons supplier and US President Donald Trump has made it clear he will continue the practice.
Beijing recently told France that a weapons deal with Taiwan would damage Sino-French relations.
The deal is related to the 1990s sale of French warships to Taiwan, according to the Taiwanese media, which at the time led to a diplomatic crisis between Paris and Beijing. (AFP)