A new round of tension in US-China relations as the US State Department approved the potential sale to Taiwan of $1.1 billion worth of military equipment, including 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles. The Chinese government has threatened the US with “countermeasures” if it goes ahead according to Reuters.
The US announcement
The announcement came in the wake of Chinese military exercises around Taiwan following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island last month – the highest-ranking US official to travel to Taipei in recent years.
The package includes 100 Sidewinder missiles to intercept enemy missiles and drones ($85.6 million), 60 Harpoon anti-ship missiles ($355 million) and support for Taiwan’s radar system ($665 million), it said in a statement the US State Department.
Following State Department approval, the arms sale must receive congressional approval, which is considered almost certain.
“We call on Beijing to cease military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taipei and instead engage in dialogue” with it, a State Department spokesman said, adding that “the United States continues to support a peaceful resolution of the issue, consistent with wishes and in the interests of the people of Taiwan.”
China considers Taiwan part of its territory, while Taipei maintains that Beijing never ruled the island and has no right to claim it.
The harsh response with threats from China
The Chinese government today threatened the US with “retaliation” if it goes ahead with a new arms sale to Taiwan, which the State Department approved on Friday.
“China will resolutely take legal and necessary countermeasures,” warned Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington.
Information source: Reuters, APE