US announces plans to sell arms package to Taiwan

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration has announced plans to sell billions of dollars in arms to Taiwan, a decision certain to anger Taiwan's rival China.

The package includes Apache helicopters and Patriot III anti-missile missiles.

The announcement came Friday in a notification to Congress.

Beijing claims Taiwan as its own territory and has threatened to invade should the self-governing island ever formalize its de facto independence.

Taiwan relies on U.S. weapons to keep pace with China's massive arms buildup across the Taiwan Strait. U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are a crucial matter because any dispute between China and Taiwan could ensnare the United States.

Washington is Taiwan's most important ally and largest arms supplier.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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