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China cries foul after Taiwan-US sign mega arms deal 

The Taiwanese Army firing howitzers during an exercise (Images courtesy: Twitter/@MoNDefense)

Taiwan on Saturday thanked the United States for its fifth announcement of arms sales to Taipei this year – totaling about 1.16 billion US dollars – even as China reacted strongly, saying that it “severely jeopardizes” Beijing-Washington relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Delivering the required certifications notifying Congress of the possible sale on Friday, the Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced a massive arms package for Taiwan which it said would contribute to the modernization of the recipient’s capability to meet current and future threats.

DSCA revealed that the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) has requested to buy 60 AGM-84L-1 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles, 4 ATM-84L-1 Harpoon Block II exercise missiles, 100 AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder air-to-air tactical missiles, 4 AIM-9X Block II tactical Guidance Units besides the follow-on Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) for the Surveillance Radar Programme (SRP).

Even though the US said that the proposed sale of the equipment and support “will not alter” the basic military balance in the region, China said on Saturday that it will “resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures” in light of the development of the situation.

Highlighting provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, especially the latest one on August 17, Beijing reiterated that Taiwan is an “inalienable part” of the Chinese territory and accused Washington of interfering in its internal affairs, undermining China’s sovereignty and security interests by selling arms to the Taiwan region.

Taiwan China

“It sends wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces, and severely jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” said Liu Pengyu, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the US, in a series of tweets today.

The Chinese diplomat said that the arms deal runs counter to international law and basic principles in international relations, and violates the one-China principle.

“China is firmly opposed to this. China urges the US side to honor its commitment, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, stop arms sales to and military interactions with Taiwan, and immediately revoke relevant arms sales to Taiwan, lest it should cause more damages to China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” he added.

Taipei, on the other hand, said that the fifth announcement of arms sales to Taiwan this year demonstrated the US government’s high priority to Taiwan’s national defence needs and the implementation of Taiwan’s security commitments.

Taiwan Presidential Spokesperson Zhang Dunhan said in a statement on Saturday that the “provocative behaviour” of China’s military exercises a few days ago, as well as the use of various “gray zone” conflict methods after the military exercise, have “unilaterally impacted” the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait and the region.

“The arms sales project announced by the US this time includes the maintenance of reconnaissance and search radars and various types of missiles required to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense, which will not only help the national army cope with the oppression in the gray area, but also give play to the early warning effect of long-range missiles, which will help improve the overall defense capability,” said the Taiwanese Presidential Office while thanking the United States.

Zhang Dunhan particularly spotlighted that this is the sixth time in the Biden administration and the fifth time this year that arms sales to Taiwan have been announced.

“As President Tsai has repeatedly reiterated, we will not escalate conflicts or provoke disputes; but Taiwan will firmly demonstrate the determination and capability of self-defense, not only to defend sovereignty and national security, but also to be close to the concept The countries continue to deepen cooperative relations and safeguard the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region,” the statement added.

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