State Department Approves $1.3 Billion Arms Sale to Taiwan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference at his official residence in Tokyo Tuesday Feb. 23 2010
Shizuo Kambayashi AP

02 July, 2017

China on Friday condemned a $1.3 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan and called on the United States to stop any weapons deal with the island, which Beijing considers a rebel province.

China has filed "solemn representations" with the US on the matter and "stresses that no one can shake the Chinese government's determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity", he added.

Taiwan is a self-ruling democracy but China sees it as part of its territory to be reunified, by force if necessary. It comes at a delicate time for relations between Washington and Beijing over efforts to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea.

She urged the public to show more support for national defense and the military and said her administration has pushed related reforms over the past year to address the gap in defense capabilities between Taiwan and China.

A US government official said the arms sales to Taiwan reflect no change in the long-standing One China policy, which recognizes the People's Republic of China.

"We will continue to seek constructive dialogue with Beijing, and promote positive developments in cross-strait relations", said a statement from Taiwan's Presidential Office.

The sales, announced by the Defense Department Thursday after the State Department approved the package, can move forward unless Congress acts to block them within 30 days. -China relations and military ties, which has happened after past arms sales to Taiwan.

Ms. Tsai has particularly irked Beijing by passing in early December to talk on the phone with Donald Trump, while no American president had spoken to a Taiwanese president since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China in 1979.

The arms sale decision coincided with the announcement of new sanctions on China's Bank of Dandong, which the US accuses of supporting North Korea's financial aspect.

"Arms sales to Taiwan will certainly undermine the mutual confidence between the two sides and runs counter to the spirit of the Mar-a-Lago summit", Ambassador Cui told reporters in Washington DC, referring to the meeting at Trump's private estate.

The U.S. does not officially recognize it as an independent state but remains its sole arms supplier.

Beijing's relationship with Taiwan has been frosty since President Tsai Ing-wen took power in Taipei past year.

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