Washington/Beijing: The US has announced a USD 5.85 billion arms sales to Taiwan, including upgrading its 145 F-16 fighter jets, a decision which immediately infuriated China which warned the move will hurt Sino-US defence ties.
   
"It is our strong view that these sales will make a significant contribution to Taiwan's air defense capabilities because it is upgrading the backbone capability of Taiwan's air force," US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said.

Campbell said this package includes the retrofit for 145 of Taiwan's F-16 A/B fighter jets, including radars, weapons, structural upgrades, totaling about USD 5.3 billion.
   
It will also include a five-year extension of F-16 pilot training at Luke Air Force Base in the United States, totaling about USD 500 million and aircraft spare parts for sustaining Taiwan's F-16s, its existing fleet of F-5s, and C-130 cargo planes, the total amount about USD 52 million.
   
"This retrofit programme will provide a substantial increase in the survivability, the reliability, and the overall combat capabilities of Taiwan's 145 F-16 A and B fighter aircraft," he said.
   
"This will help ensure that Taiwan maintains the capability to protect its airspace... This sale is a clear demonstration of the commitment of this Administration to sustain and improve Taiwan's defense capabilities," he said.
   
China, which views Taiwan as its "integral part", warned that the move will hurt its defence ties with America.
   
"Rather than working with China to consolidate and expand the positive growth of bilateral military ties, the US again announced its plan to sell arms to Taiwan, which will create severe obstacles for normal military-to-military exchanges," Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng warned.

(Agencies)