The United States decided to approve a controversial $2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan earlier this week as part of an effort to promote peace in the region, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on Monday.

The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency on Monday announced that the State Department had signed off on Taiwan's request to purchase over 100 M1A2T Abrams tanks and related equipment valued at over $2 billion. The United States also agreed to sell to Taiwan 250 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles worth around $224 million, it said.

"Our interest in Taiwan, especially as it relates to these military sales, is to promote peace and stability across .. the region. And so, there is no change, of course in our long-standing One China policy," Ortagus said. "I don't see our notification here as anything other than complying with the Taiwan Relations Act. The law specifically, of course, you know, requires us to help Taiwan maintain self-sufficient defence capabilities, but our One China policy remains the same."

The One-China policy recognizes that Taiwan is a part of China.

China, which views Taiwan as a rebel province, has protested the action and demanded that the US cancel the deal, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said earlier on Tuesday.

China is also urging the United Kingdom to cancel any planned arms sales and stop any military contact with Taiwan in order to avoid damaging bilateral relations or stability near the Taiwan Strait, he said.

Official relations between Taiwan and China's central authorities was cut off in 1949. Business and informal ties resumed in the late 1980s. Starting from the 1990s, the two sides have been in contact via non-governmental organizations.

A number of countries, including the United States, officially recognize the One-China principle but maintain unofficial relations with Taiwan.