China alerts France not to sell weapons to Taiwan

Taiwan is mostly equipped with US-made weapons, but in 1991 France sold Taiwan six Lafayette frigates which made China angry

The East Asian country China has warned France not to sell arms to neighboring Taiwan on Wednesday which is playing to get weapons as a part of upgrade to a French-made warship fleet that was bought 30 years ago.

China states that Taiwan is a part of 'one China' and the principle must get accepted by any nation with which it has diplomatic relations. The sales of arms to Taiwan are most f the time highly sensitive and regularly prompt a powerful reaction from Beijing.

Taiwan is equipped with US-made weapons

A double rainbow is seen behind Taiwanese flag during the National Day celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan, October 10, 2017. Reuters

Taiwan is mostly equipped with US-made weapons, but in 1991 France sold Taiwan six Lafayette frigates, to China's anger. France also sold Taiwan 60 Mirage fighter jets in 1992. Taiwan last month said it was seeking to buy equipment from France to upgrade the ships' missile interference system. Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China resolutely opposed any arms sales to Taiwan.

"We have already expressed our serious concern to France," he told a daily news briefing. "We again urge the French side to abide by the one China principle and withdraw the arms sale plan to Taiwan to avoid harming Sino-French relations." Taiwan's Defence Ministry said in response on Wednesday that the navy has said it is following related procurement regulations for the arm purchase to meet its "combat needs". It declined further comment.

Taiwan says it needs to upgrade its armed forces to deal with the growing threat from China, which has in recent months stepped up its military drills near the democratic island. China describes Taiwan as its most sensitive and important territorial issue, and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control. Taiwan has shown no interest in being ruled by autocratic China.

(With agency inputs)

This article was first published on May 13, 2020