China urges US to cancel proposed arms sales to Taiwan

The US has approved the sale of up to US$95 million (S$129 million) worth of training and equipment to Taiwan. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (XINHUA, AFP) - China said on Wednesday (April 6) that it is firmly opposed to and strongly condemns the proposed US arms sales to Taiwan worth US$95 million (S$129 million), urging the US to withdraw its plan.

"The US arms sales to the Taiwan region of China seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiques, especially the Aug 17 Communique, gravely undermine China's sovereignty and security interests, and severely harm China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing.

"The US should abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiques, revoke the arms sales plan and stop arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan," Mr Zhao said.

The Aug 17, 1982, communique addressed the issue of US arms sales to Taiwan in an effort to prevent a collapse of US-China ties.

Mr Zhao said on Wednesday that China will continue to take firm and strong measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty and security interests.

The United States announced on Tuesday it has approved the sale of up to US$95 million worth of training and equipment to support Taiwan's Patriot missile defence system, something Taipei said would help protect the island from any invasion by China.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunified, by force if necessary.

"The proposed sale will help to sustain (Taiwan's) missile density and ensure readiness for air operations," the Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

It added that Taiwan will use the proposed training and equipment as a "deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen homeland defence".

Taiwan's foreign ministry welcomed the arms deal - the third approved under US President Joe Biden.

"In the face of China's continuing military expansion and provocation, Taiwan must fully demonstrate its strong determination to defend itself," it said in a statement. "Our government will continue to strengthen our self-defence and asymmetric combat capabilities."

Taiwan's defence ministry said the deal is expected to take effect in one month.

The latest arms purchase comes as Taiwan closely watches the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, as it also lives under the constant threat of an attack by China.

Beijing has sanctioned US defence giants - including Boeing Defense, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon - for selling arms to Taiwan.

China has ramped up its sabre-rattling in recent years, sending 969 Chinese warplanes into Taiwan's air defence identification zone (ADIZ) last year (2021), according to a database compiled by AFP - more than double the roughly 380 in 2020.

Taiwan has recorded about 280 warplanes entering the ADIZ this year.

Washington has remained Taipei's most important ally and leading arms supplier despite switching diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979.

The Patriot is a highly mobile surface-to-air missile system that would be a crucial defence against Chinese warplanes.

Former US president Donald Trump ramped up big-ticket arms sales to Taiwan during his time in office. Sales included drones, missile systems and new-generation fighter jets.

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