US Approves Arms Sale to Taiwan

The United States has approved the sale of advanced air defense missiles to Taiwan, despite strong opposition from China.

The contract announced by the U.S. Defense Department late Wednesday is part of a $6.5 billion arms deal former President George Bush approved in 2008.

Under the deal, U.S. defense contractor Lockheed-Martin Corporation will sell an unspecified number of Patriot missiles to Taiwan.

Beijing urged Washington earlier this week to cancel the deal, saying it would damage Chinese-U.S. cooperation.

Taiwan and China split during a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still considers the island a part of its territory. It has threatened to use military force if Taipei moves toward formal independence.

Taiwan says China is aiming up to 1,500 missiles at the island.