United States President Donald Trump has postponed an arms deal with Taiwan until after he secures a trade deal with China, according to a new report.
“The Trump Administration has put on hold a previously reported sale of jet fighters to Taiwan until the United States seals a trade deal with China,” three US officials were quoted as saying in by the Time.
The State Department approved in September the proposed sale to Taiwan of spare parts for military aircraft worth up to 330 million dollars. The deal covered parts for Taiwan’s F-16, C-130, F-5, Indigenous Defense Fighters, and other aircraft systems.
Beijing has strongly objected to Washington for approving the proposed arms sales to Taiwan, warning that providing the self-ruled island with advanced weaponry would breach Chinese sovereignty and do “severe damage” to bilateral relations.
American and Chinese officials have held several rounds of talks to end a months-long "trade war" that has seen the Trump administration impose heavy tariffís on Chinese imports in retaliation for Chinaís "unfair" trade policies.
According to latest reports, it was not clear whether the two sides were nearing a deal.
Trump, however, claimed on Thursday that the trade talks with the Chinese side were “moving along nicely”, saying he could be signing a trade deal with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping within weeks.
"If we have a deal, there will be a summit," Trump told reporters at the White House before a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. "I would say weíll know over the next four weeks."
Trump began his trade war with China in early 2018, accusing the Chinese of stealing American intellectual property among a series of other measures.
The Time report suggested that some of the more hawkish members of the Trump administration were worried that the president may soon go soft on China in his desire to close a trade deal.
International affairs pundits say the trade tensions between the two countries are a disguise for political and economic supremacy.
Hendrik du Toit, the chief executive of Investec, a major asset management firm, was quoted by CNBC as saying that trade talks between the US and China were not simply about trade, but "a new world order".