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North Korea blasts US arms to Taiwan as 'dangerous' provocation

Taiwan's armed forces hold two days of routine drills to show combat readiness ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays at a military base in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on January 11, 2023. (Reuters photo)

North Korea has strongly condemned a US weapons aid package to Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), accusing the United States of driving tensions in the region to "another ignition point of war.”

The United States unveiled an aid package for Taiwan worth up to $345 million last week. The package was a part of up to $1 billion worth of weapons aid authorized by Congress for Taiwan in the 2023 budget.

China has sovereignty over Taipei. The US recognizes that sovereignty but regularly violates its own stated policy. The island has become a major bone of contention between Beijing and Washington.

In response, China’s defense ministry warned the United States against going further down a “wrong and dangerous” path.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said on Tuesday the US must stop all forms of “military collusion” with Taiwan.

The ministry further emphasized that China’s People’s Liberation Army is closely monitoring the situation in the Taiwan Strait and is always on high alert.

On Thursday, North Korea denounced the US provocation.

In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, Maeng Yong Rim, director general of the North Korean foreign ministry's Chinese affairs department, said the plan is a "dangerous political and military provocation" and a "flagrant violation of the ‘One-China’ principle.

"It is the sinister intention of the US to turn Taiwan into an unsinkable advanced base against China and the first-line trench for carrying out its strategy for deterring China," the North's statement said.

"The Asia-Pacific region, including the Korean peninsula and the Taiwan Strait, is neither a theatre of the US military activity nor a test site of war," the statement said, warning that the US will have to "pay a high price" for "provoking the core interest of China."

The $345 million package includes "man-portable air defense systems, intelligence and surveillance capabilities, firearms and missiles" which will be used in targeting the Chinese mainland.

It also includes "education and training" for the locals, an extremely detrimental move aimed at planting the seed of secessionism in the minds of the young so as to turn them into cannon fodder for the secessionists in power.

Beijing describes the issue of Chinese Taipei as the most sensitive and important matter in its relations with the US, and the topic remains a constant source of friction between the two world powers.

Washington has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan by law but remains the island’s largest weapons supplier and a staunch supporter of Taiwan’s secessionist President Tsai Ing-wen.

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