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China vows ‘counter-measures’ as US okays $1.1bn Taiwan arms sales

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of Taiwanese navy sailors (Photo by AFP)

China has warned the US of impending “counter-measures” following the Biden administration’s approval of yet another $1.1 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan.

Beijing was "firmly opposed" to the sales that "severely jeopardize China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," said spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington on Twitter Saturday, demanding that Washington "immediately revoke" the deal.

"The US interferes in China's internal affairs and undermines China's sovereignty and security interests by selling arms to Taiwan," wrote Liu Pengyu in the tweet, insisting that “it sends the wrong signals to 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces and severely jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

He further called on Washington to "honor its commitments to the one-China principle" and concluded his series of tweets by reiterating that Taiwan is "an inalienable part of the Chinese territory," vowing that Beijing will "resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures."

Liu's statement came after the Biden administration formally notified Congress on Friday of the proposed weapons sales, which include up to 60 anti-ship missiles and up to 100 air-to-air missiles.

The State Department further claimed in a statement that the sales are in line with a longstanding US policy of providing defensive weapons to the island and boasted that the "swift provision" of such arms as being "essential for Taiwan's security."

Tensions between Washington and Beijing have escalated since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last month despite stern warnings to Pelosi by China against making the trip. Beijing then reacted to Pelosi’s move by ordering days' worth of military drills around the island after she had left.

Taiwan, meanwhile, declared on Saturday that it "highly welcomes" the latest arms sales, thanking the US government for "continuing to implement its security commitments to Taiwan."

"In response to China's recent continuous military provocations and unilateral changes in the status quo and creating crises, Taiwan's determination to defend itself is extremely firm," Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"This batch of arms sales includes a large number of various 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, assisting our country to obtain the equipment needed for defense in a timely manner and to enhance our national defense capabilities."

China’s embassy in UK condemns ‘irresponsible rhetoric’ over Taiwan

Earlier this week, the Chinese embassy in London also censured what it described as UK’s “irresponsible rhetoric” after British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss summoned its ambassador over Beijing’s actions towards Taiwan.

Truss, who is also the top contender to become Britain’s next prime minister, summoned Ambassador Zheng Zeguang on Wednesday, claiming that China’s “increasingly aggressive behavior” following Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled territory was threatening peace and stability in the region around Taiwan.

Zheng “firmly rejected & strongly condemned UK side’s irresponsible rhetoric about China’s legitimate & necessary response to US House Speaker’s Taiwan visit” in a meeting with a senior British foreign ministry official, the Chinese embassy said in a Twitter post.

“Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory,” it insisted, adding, “No foreign country, UK included, has the right to meddle with the internal affairs of China.”

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