The Pentagon said on Wednesday that the State Department has approved a potential sale of $500 million in infrared search and tracking systems for F16 fighter jets and other materiel and equipment to Taiwan.

“The proposed sale of this equipment and provision of support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” the Pentagon’s statement says.

The move would anger Beijing, which has repeatedly called on the United States to halt arms sales to Taiwan.

The United States is the most important arms supplier to Taiwan.

The Pentagon said the main contracting party would be Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the F16 fighter jets.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Monday that Taiwan’s military spending would increase 3.5% year-on-year to a record high in 2024, and she vowed to improve defenses amid rising threats from China, which considers the island part of its territory.

The US Department of Defense stated that $500 million is the maximum potential value of the contract and that the actual dollar value would be lower.

The United States announced a new arms aid package to Taiwan worth up to $345 million late last month.

Although approved by the US State Department, the notification does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have ended.

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