China on Tuesday urged the US to immediately withdraw a $2.2 billion arms sales to Taiwan and sever military ties with the island nation.
“China urges the US to honour its commitment to the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communique, immediately withdraw arms sales to and sever military ties with Taiwan to avoid further damage to bilateral relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang as saying here.
Geng’s remarks come after the Pentagon on Monday night confirmed the US President Donald Trump’s administration’s approval of the sale of 108 Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger missiles and related equipment.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said that the sale would not alter the basic military balance in the region and that it has notified Congress of the move.
Meanwhile, the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry in a statement on Tuesday said the approval of the arms sale by the US was proof of Washington’s support in the face of growing intimidation from China as well as its firm determination to fulfil its security commitments, Efe news reported.
China often objects to US arms sales to Taiwan as Beijing considers the island part of Chinese territory and wants it reunited with the mainland.
Last month, China’s Foreign Ministry had urged the US to halt the sale, calling it an “extremely sensitive and damaging” decision.
Even if the US severed its diplomatic channels with Taiwan in 1979 and established ties with China, it is bound by law to sell arms to Taipei for its defence.
This has long been a sore point in Washington-Beijing ties and becomes more contentious after US Trump came to power.
After taking office in 2016, Trump spoke to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen by phone, breaking an almost four-decade protocol that rattled China.