China warns of ‘countermeasures’ as US approves $1.1bn arms sales to Taiwan

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CNN

China has warned the United States it will take “countermeasures” after the Biden administration approved more than $1.1 billion in arms sales to Taiwan.

Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu said on Saturday that China was “firmly opposed” to the sales, which “seriously jeopardize China-US relations as well as peace and stability across the strait. of Taiwan”, and called on Washington to “remove them immediately”.

Liu’s comments on Twitter came after the Biden administration officially notified Congress on Friday of the proposed sales, which include up to 60 anti-ship missiles and up to 100 air-to-air missiles.

The State Department said the sales were in line with a long-standing US policy of supplying defensive weapons to the island and described the ‘prompt supply’ of such weapons as ‘essential to Taiwan’s security’. .

China, however, has accused the United States of interfering in what it considers its internal affairs.

The Chinese Communist Party claims Taiwan, a self-governing democracy, as part of its territory – although it has never ruled it – and has long vowed to ‘reunify’ the island with the Chinese mainland, by force if necessary.

“The United States is interfering in China’s internal affairs and undermining China’s sovereignty and security interests by selling arms to Taiwan,” Liu tweeted.

“It sends the wrong signals to separatist ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and seriously jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Liu said.

He called on the United States to “honor its commitments to the one China principle” and ended his series of tweets by saying that Taiwan is “an inalienable part of Chinese territory” and warned that China “will resolutely take legitimate and necessary countermeasures”. ”

US-China tensions have risen since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last month.

China had warned Pelosi against the trip and responded by ordering days of military exercises around the island after he left.

Taiwan said Saturday it “strongly welcomes” the latest arms sales and thanked the U.S. government for “continuing to implement its security commitments to Taiwan.”

“In response to China’s recent continuous military provocations and unilateral changes to the status quo and creation of crises, Taiwan’s resolve to defend itself is extremely firm,” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“This batch of arms sales includes a large number of different types of missiles that are needed to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense, which fully demonstrates that the great importance the US government attaches to Taiwan’s defense needs, helping our countries to obtain the necessary equipment for timely defense and strengthen our national defense capabilities.

In an incident that underscored the heightened tensions, the Taiwanese military on Thursday shot down a drone hovering over one of its island outposts off the coast of China.

A day earlier, Taiwan said it warned of drones flying over three of the islands it occupies off the Chinese port city of Xiamen.

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