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U.S. approves licence for Taiwan submarine plan

Staff Writer |
Washington has agreed to allow U.S. defence contractors help Taiwan construct its own submarines, Taipei said.

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Taiwan last year launched a plan to manufacture its own submarines amid deteriorating relations with China after its hopes of buying them from the U.S. came to nothing.

The U.S. State Department has approved granting the licence necessary to sell Taiwan the technology needed for its submarine project.

The approval was a "breakthrough," Taiwan defence ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said Sunday.

"It is part of a process. We'll take it step by step," he told AFP, declining to provide further details.

The agreement is likely to anger Beijing, which regards the island as part of its territory even though the two sides have been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.

Washington's approval comes after President Donald Trump last month signed new rules allowing top-level U.S. officials to travel to Taiwan.

China has protested at the move, saying the US should stop official exchanges with Taiwan to avoid "damaging Sino-US relations".

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