WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has approved a military transfer to Taiwan under the Foreign Military Financing, or FMF, program normally used for sovereign states, according to a notification sent to Congress.
The notification, which was seen by Reuters on Wednesday, informs congressional committees of the State Department's intention to obligate up to $80 million in FMF funds in support of Taiwan.
"FMF will be used to strengthen Taiwan's self-defense capabilities through joint and combined defense capability and enhanced maritime domain awareness and maritime security capability," the notification said.
The Taiwan notification was first reported by the Associated Press.
Representative Michael McCaul, Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was glad the administration was "finally" providing FMF to Taiwan.
"These weapons will not only help Taiwan and protect other democracies in the region, but also strengthen the U.S. deterrence posture and ensure our national security from an increasingly aggressive CCP (Chinese Communist Party)," McCaul said in a statement.
FMF, the largest military assistance account managed by the State Department, provides primarily grant assistance to foreign governments for the purchase of U.S. defense equipment and military training under the Foreign Military Sales program.
A State Department official confirmed the notification to Congress and said the decision to provide Taiwan with the FMF assistance did not reflect any change in U.S. policy.
The move is nonetheless expected to raise the ire of Beijing.
Beijing claims the democratically governed island as its own territory, and warns against any forms of "official exchanges" between Washington and Taipei. Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claims and says only Taiwan's people can decide their future.
China has complained previously to the United States about military aid to the island. Its defense ministry has said the U.S. military must stop all forms of "military collusion" with the island.
The United States, Taiwan's most important arms supplier, last month announced a Taiwan weapons aid package worth up to $345 million.