WASHINGTON, U.S. – In a move that has left China fuming, the U.S. State Department has approved a controversial deal involving the sale of arms to Taiwan.
Washington approved the sale despite repeated protests by China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency issued a statement saying, “This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security and defensive capability of the recipient, which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”
The Pentagon also pointed out in its statement that the $330 million request covers spare parts for “F-16, C-130, F-5, Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), all other aircraft systems and subsystems, and other related elements of logistics and program support.”
It said that the Congress had already been notified of the possible sale.
However, the announcement by the U.S. triggered a warning from China, which pointed out that the move jeopardizes Sino-U.S. cooperation.
Addressing a daily news briefing in Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said, “U.S. arms sales to Taiwan were a serious breach of international law and harmed Chinese sovereignty and security interests.”
Shuang added that China strongly opposes the planned arms sales and has already lodged “stern representations” with the U.S.
He added, “China urges the United States to withdraw the planned sale and stop military contacts with Taiwan, to avoid serious harm to both Sino-U.S. cooperation in major areas, and peace and stability in the Taiwan strait.”
Meanwhile, America’s planned arms sale was also condemned by China’s Defense Ministry in a separate statement.
The ministry added in its statement that the Chinese military had a “firm and unshakable” resolve to protect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
However, the Pentagon argued in its statement that the proposed sale is required to maintain Taiwan’s “defensive and aerial fleet,” and would not alter the military balance in the region.
The move adds to China’s frustration since the world’s two largest economies are already engaged in a spiralling trade war involving tariffs on several goods from both sides.
Amid China’s protests, Taiwan, which would now have to finalize details of the sale with U.S. companies, issued a statement on Tuesday too.
Taiwan’s Presidential Office thanked the U.S. for its support in its statement.
The statement further said that the island would continue to “stay in close communication and cooperation” with Washington for issues including security.