After Washington approved a major arms deal with Taiwan, Beijing vowed to defend its “territorial integrity.”
On Monday, Beijing’s foreign and defense ministries issued harsh statements condemning the Biden administration’s approval of a new US arms sale to Taiwan. The transaction is estimated to be worth $108 million and includes armored vehicle parts and technical assistance.
According to Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Tan Kefei, Beijing “demands” that the US “immediately withdraw the above-mentioned arms sales plan to Taiwan,” as well as halt all other arms deals and cut military ties with the island.“Otherwise, the US side will be solely responsible for undermining the relationship between China and the US and the two militaries and the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.”
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army will take all necessary measures to firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as to firmly oppose any form of external interference and separatist attempts for ‘Taiwan independence,'” the colonel added.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, echoed this sentiment, saying that Washington’s arms supplies “gravely undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, as well as severely harm China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
“China will continue to take firm measures to defend its sovereignty and security interests,” Wang said.
The Pentagon announced on Friday that the US State Department had approved the transaction, which could be worth up to $108 million. However, it has yet to be approved by Congress. According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the military aid package will include parts for tanks and other combat vehicles, as well as technical and logistical support services provided by the US government and its contractors, in order to improve Taiwanese military interoperability with American forces and other allies.
State Department spokesman Ned Price dismissed China’s concerns later Monday, claiming that the US has certain obligations to provide Taiwan with the means to “defend itself.”
“Under the Taiwan Relations Act, we make defense articles and services available to Taiwan in order for Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.” This is something that has been done by previous administrations. “It is completely consistent with our One China policy,” Price said.
Taiwan has been ruled by nationalists who fled to the island after the Chinese mainland’s civil war ended in 1949. Under the One China policy, Beijing considers the 23.5 million-person island to be part of its own territory.
China has recently increased maritime and aerial military activity around the island, citing the need to deter “collusion activities” between “Taiwan independence forces” and the US government.
While Washington officially supports the One China policy, it maintains strong unofficial ties with Taipei, selling weapons to the island and tacitly encouraging its push for sovereignty. Beijing has repeatedly condemned such contacts as provocations and interference in Chinese domestic affairs.