China has urged the United States to scrap its latest round of arms sales to the Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), including ship parts, amid heightened tensions between Beijing and the self-ruled island.
The US approved a $120 million sale of naval equipment to Taiwan to boost the island’s “combat readiness” in the face of China’s “frequent activities” near the island, Taipei’s defense ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The equipment would help Taiwan’s ships “maintain proper equipment... and meet the practical needs of combat readiness tasks in light of recent frequent activities by Chinese aircraft and warships around our sea and air,” it added.
Later in the day, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian called on Washington to revoke the arms sales which he described as a serious violation of the One-China principle.
Under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries recognize China's sovereignty over Chinese Taipei. The US, too, recognizes the principle but has long courted Taipei in an attempt to unnerve Beijing.
The US, which backs Taipei’s secessionist president, also continues to sell weapons to the island in violation of its own stated policy.
Zhao said the latest arms sales to Taiwan also violate the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués, particularly the August 17 communiqué.
“China resolutely opposes and strongly condemns this,” he said, warning that the arms sales would undermine China’s security interests, and damage China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.
On Wednesday, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement that it had notified Congress after the State Department’s approval of the $120-million sales of ship spare parts and ship system spare parts.
The latest deal is the third arms package offered to Taiwan this year, and the fourth since US President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
Tensions between Taiwan and China have been at their highest in decades. China has been flying fighter jets close to the island while the US has reportedly deployed troops in the territory in the past year for training purposes.
Back in May, Biden said he would be willing to use force to militarily defend Taipei if it were attacked by Beijing.
The White House has since insisted the US policy of "strategic ambiguity" over its response to such an attack has not changed.