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China denounces approval of US arms sale to Chinese Taipei, says will take counter-measures

A file photo shows Chinese Taipei’s military M109 self-propelled Howitzers moving during a military exercises in 2019. (Via AP)

China's Foreign Ministry has strongly denounced a recent approval of arms sale by the United States to Chinese Taipei and demanded an end to any form of official or military exchanges with the self-governed Chinese island.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Pentagon said that the US State Department had notified Congress of its approval of a proposal to sell 40 155mm Howitzer artillery units to Chinese Taipei in a deal valued at up to $750 million. The provocative potential sale would also include a number of armored vehicles, machine guns, and 1,698 precision guidance kits to convert projectiles into more precise GPS-guided munitions.

Reacting to the US approval, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the action jeopardized China-US relations and threatened stability across the Taiwan Straits, Xinhua news agency reported.

A ministry statement further demanded that the US halt military interactions with Chinese Taipei and immediately revoke all arms sales to the self-ruled island.

"Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory, and the US has interfered in China's internal affairs and undermined China's sovereignty and security interests by selling arms to Taiwan region," the statement said. 

US arms sales, it said, run counter to international law and basic principles in international relations, and violate "the one-China principle and provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, especially the August 17 Communique.”

The August 17 Communique reaffirms the desire of both sides to further strengthen economic relations.

The statement said Beijing has lodged solemn representations with the US side.  "China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation."

Last year, the US sold drones and coastal missile defenses aimed at upgrading the island’s capabilities against mainland China.

According to a report by Chinese Taipei’s National Audit Office on Thursday, Washington has sent weapons experts to Chinese Taipei in the last two years to support tests of the US Patriot missiles sold to the island.

The 2020 official financial audit report inadvertently revealed that Chinese Taipei’s air force budgeted the project to enable American experts and officials to go to the island over four years to support the air force and other agencies.

Since 1997, Chinese Taipei has bought at least 400 of the missiles from the US.

Chinese Taipei falls under China’s sovereignty, and under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries — the US included — recognize that sovereignty.

But, in violation of its own stated policy and in an attempt to irritate Beijing, Washington has maintained and recently ramped up its diplomatic contact with the self-proclaimed government in Chinese Taipei. Washington is also the island’s largest weapon supplier.

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