China strongly protests United States arms sales to Taiwan

US Navy to call at Taiwan ports — a harder line on China from Trump? – China's latest political and current affairs news
US clears massive arms deal for Taiwan
Author

02 July, 2017

Almost three months on and the mood has soured after Trump's decision to sell Taiwan $1.4 billion-worth of weapons.

"Taiwan is an indispensable part of China's territory and we firmly oppose this arms sale to Taiwan", Lu said.

A spokeswoman for the US State Department said that the sale of technical components for radar and missile systems did not represent any change to US-Sino policy.

The announcement follows remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this month highlighting that the United States would continue to abide by its commitments to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act and stands to considerably increase tensions across the strait.

In a series of parallel, and provocative, moves, a Republican-controlled Senate committee also provisionally approved visits to Taiwan by the Japan-based US Seventh Fleet for the first time since 1979, when Washington recognised the People's Republic of China and adopted a "one China" policy.

Tsai has been trying to shore up the island's defenses since she took power past year, as Beijing refuses to engage with her government because she leads an independence-leaning ruling party and refuses to recognize the "one China" policy.

The sale that requires approval from the Congress will be the first to Taiwan under President Donald Trump's rule and also the first since December 2015, the last time former President Barack Obama announced the $1.83 billion deal with the island nation.

The previous package included two navy frigates in addition to anti-tank missiles and amphibious attack vehicles. Although he later backed his decision to take the call, and further questioned the "One China" policy, Trump ultimately acknowledged Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan, and seemed to have regained Beijing's confidence with reassurances that Washington would be committed to the policy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his USA counterpart Donald Trump at the billionaire's luxury resort in Florida in April. Taiwan has welcomed the agreement, which is expected to enhance the island's self-defense capability.

The United States is the sole arms supplier to Taiwan. "Most people will support this arms sale because we need to strengthen our defense" amid strained relations between the sides, he said.

Tsai has been at odds with China after refusing to accept the mainland's "one-China" principle, the South China Morning Post reported Friday.

China's anger over Washington's decision risks damaging US President Donald Trump's attempts to seek additional help from China to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missiles programmes.

More importantly, however, this is the first U.S. arms package to receive clearance for Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen took office as Taiwan's president in May 2016.

It was the first time a US president or president-elect has had contact with a Taiwanese leader since before the USA cut off diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979.

In a move that seemed to portend a shift in U.S. policy, President-elect Trump spoke to Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-Wen in a phone call in December, upending decades of diplomatic protocol.


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