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Taiwan receives two US-built minehunters


An Osprey-class minehunter. A US Navy photo

TAIPEI (AFP): Taiwan has received two coastal minehunters from the United States, its navy said Friday, as part of an arms deal that has upset relations between Washington and Beijing.

The Osprey class vessels, the world's second largest minehunters, were refitted after they were decommissioned from the US Navy in 2006 and arrived in Taiwan on Thursday, the navy added.

The vessels, capable of finding, classifying and destroying mines, will help Taiwan increase its anti-blockade capabilities in case of war with rival China, analysts say.

The sale of the minehunters is part of a USD 6.4 billion arms deal between Washington and Taipei that also includes Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and communications equipment for Taiwan's F-16 fleet of fighter jets.

China retaliated swiftly to the arms deal when it was announced by the United States in 2010, suspending military exchanges and security talks with Washington.

Beijing sees Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the island has governed itself since 1949.

China has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence, prompting Taipei to seek more advanced weapons, largely from the United States.

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Taiwan  US  Navy  Vessel  

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