China has called on the United States to “immediately withdraw” the proposed arms deal and stop military links with Taiwan. The Trump administration approved the potential sale, which it said would not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed its dissatisfaction with the United States on July 9, one day after the Pentagon said it made a determination approving a possible foreign military sale worth $2.2 billion to Taiwan.
“China urges the U.S. to abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques and immediately withdraw the aforementioned arms sales to Taiwan, stop U.S.-Taiwan military links, and so as to avoid further damage to Sino-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press conference.
Shuang said Taiwan is “an inseparable part of China’s territory,” though the island has been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.
The spokesman also said China opposes foreign interference in its national affairs.
In its announcement, the Pentagon said the proposed sale would serve U.S. interests by supporting Taiwan to modernize its armed forces, improve its security and help maintain political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region. It would also help Taiwan enhance ability to meet current and future regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense.
In Taipei, the Taiwan Foreign Ministry said in a statement on July 9, “Situated on the frontline of China’s expanding military ambition, and facing its persistent pressure and threat, our purchase of M1A2T tanks, missiles, and other equipment is highly significant and helpful in upgrading our defense capability.”
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her satisfaction with the deal, writing in a tweet on Tuesday: “Pleased that the #US government has approved another arms sale package, boosting #Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities. We’ll continue to speed up investment in national defense, & partner with like-minded countries to defend democracy while promoting regional peace and stability.”
Pleased that the #US government has approved another arms sale package, boosting #Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities. We’ll continue to speed up investment in national defense, & partner with like-minded countries to defend democracy while promoting regional peace and stability. pic.twitter.com/dw4Rw58hYb
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) July 9, 2019
China has repeatedly warned the United States against forging ties with or selling weapons to Taipei, while it has recently used more bellicose rhetoric to describe its interest in taking over Taiwan, including its use of military force.
However, President Donald Trump’s administration has been seeking to strengthen ties with Taiwan, and is not afraid that its relations with China would turn worse as the previous administrations had been.
Under President Trump, the United States has been also attacking China on other fronts, which include imposing punitive tariffs on Chinese goods for its unfair trade practices, and criticizing its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists.
A series of protests in Hong Kong recently have also been sounding alarms for Taiwan to enhance its opposition to China’s “one country, two systems.”