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Taiwan ships 1 billion bullets to United States: report

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan has shipped one billion rifle bullets to the United States for NT$560 million in a rare arms sale to the United States, it was reported yesterday.

The 5.56 mm bullets are mainly used to replenish supplies which have run low after wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Taipei-based China Times reported, citing a military source.

Taiwan's defence ministry last year beat off competition from the likes of Singapore and South Korea to win the five-year contract from a U.S. military subcontractor, it was reported.

In a separate deal, the China Times said the Taiwanese Army plans to purchase 60 UH-60M Black Hawk transport helicopters from Washington for NT$71.7 billion.

The US is the leading arms supplier to Taiwan — something China objects to — with Beijing regarding the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

Taiwan has been seeking more advanced weaponry amid China's repeated threats to invade.

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian last week accused China of provoking the island by targeting it with nearly 1,000 missiles.

Tensions between Taipei and Beijing escalated since the independence leaning leader was elected president in 2000. He was narrowly re-elected in 2004.

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