The US Government has decided to proceed with an $8bn sale of 66 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.

This proposed sale is claimed to be one of the largest arms deals between the two countries.

Congress was informed about this move by the State Department after the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed a memo giving approval to the sale.

Congress is not likely to oppose the sale, reported The New York Times.

Plans to advance the sale came in following an informal review and approval by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

It is not yet known if the Trump administration’s support for the sale of the dozens of Lockheed Martin F-16V fighter jets will be used as a way to bargain with Beijing, which is locked in a trade conflict with the US.

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By GlobalData

China has been protesting against the sale of US arms to Taiwan.

Since President George HW Bush’s announcement about the sale of 150 F-16s to Taiwan in 1992, the US has not sold fighter jets to Taiwan, which China claims to be a part of its territory.

Taiwan’s request for new jets was rejected by the Obama administration.

Republican Senator of Florida Marco Rubio commended the Trump administration’s plan to move ahead with the sale of fighter jets to Taiwan.

He added: “I commend the administration for moving forward with the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. As the Chinese Government and Communist Party seeks to extend its authoritarian reach in the region, it is critical that the United States continue to enhance our strategic relationship with our democratic partner Taiwan through regular and consistent support.

“This move is an important step in support of Taiwan’s self-defence efforts, and I urge the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee to quickly advance this critical arms sale.”

Speaking about the potential sale of fighter jets to Taiwan hours before the Trump administration’s move at a news conference in Beijing on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the US was violating the sovereignty of China and it would take ‘countermeasures’, reported The New York Times.