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18th Oct 2018

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Europe to sell helicopters to Taiwan

EU-China relations have been placed under increased strain following news that a European firm is to sell a number of helicopters to Taiwan, the disputed island over which China claims sovereignty.

The revelation comes just a day after China hauled the EU to the World Trade Organisation over a long-running shoe tariff dispute.

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Reports on Friday (5 February) said Taiwan's military is set to buy three helicopters from German manufacturer Eurocopter, a subsidiary of EADS, with an option to buy up to 17 more.

Taiwan's defence ministry spokesman Martin Yu said the contract for the EC-225 search-and-rescue helicopters was valued at $111 million.

The European deal comes hot on the heels of last week's news that Taiwan will buy roughly $6.4 billion-worth of arms from US companies, prompting Chinese condemnation and threats of sanctions.

Whether Europe will now come in for the same response is yet to be seen.

Some analysts suggest Beijing's response may be more muted due to an unwillingness to fight on two diplomatic fronts as the same time.

Recent murmurings within the EU over a possible lifting of the bloc's arms embargo with China could also result in a softer response from the Asian powerhouse.

China urges Germany and France to solve euro-crisis

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday offered vague promises to buy bonds from troubled euro-countries, but said that it is ultimately up to Germany and France to solve the crisis.

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