U.S. approves $1.8 billion Taiwan arms sale

China is threatening to retaliate on Thursday (October 22) after the United States and Taiwan agreed a major new arms deal.

The package - worth $1.8 billion - sees Taiwan buy sensors, missiles and artillery.

Taiwan said it did not want an arms race or confrontation with its regional neighbor.

It did, though, thank the U.S., and said the weapons were to help improve its defense and deal with the - quote - 'enemy threat and new situation'.

China has opposed news of the deal since its inception, and says that it will, 'severely damage Chinese-U.S. relations'.

It hasn't detailed what form retaliation may take.

In the past, China has sanctioned U.S. companies in the past for selling weapons to Taiwan.

The democratically-ruled island nation is claimed by China and has long been a key point of tension for the country.

In recent years, the Trump administration has ramped up support for Taiwan through other arms sales and visits by senior U.S officials.

Like most countries, the U.S. has no formal diplomatic ties with Taipei, though it is its strongest global backer.

It has pushed Taiwan to modernize its military so it can become a so-called "porcupine" - in other words, hard for China to attack.