By Mike Stone and Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is pursuing the sale of more than $2 billion (1.6 billion pounds) worth of tanks and weapons to Taiwan, four people familiar with the negotiations said, in a move likely to anger China as a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies escalates.
An informal notification of the proposed sale has been sent to the U.S. Congress, the four sources said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the possible deal.
The potential sale included 108 General Dynamics Corp M1A2 Abrams tanks worth around $2 billion as well as anti-tank munitions, three of the sources said.
For many years, Taiwan has been interested in refreshing its existing U.S.-made battle tank inventory which includes M60 Patton tanks.
The United States is the sole arms supplier to Taiwan, which China deems its own and has never renounced the use of force to bring the self-ruled island under its control.
(Reporting by Mike Stone and Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Editing by Mary Milliken, Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Shumaker)