Outraged China Threatens Counter-Measures as US to Sell Taiwan Weapons Worth $1.1 Billion

Washington once again has China raging, this time over the US plan to sell $1.1 billion worth of weaponry to Taiwan. The proposed sales include up to 60 anti-ship missiles and up to 100 air-to-air missiles.

The Supersonic Sidewinder missiles are equipped with an infrared heat-seeking guidance system which allows pilots to aim at targets with their helmet displays, while the Harpoon missiles are more resilient against electronic interference than their predecessors.

'Revoke The Deal'

The Chinese embassy in Washington warned the US to revoke the deal or face counter-measures. The deal severely jeopardizes relations between Washington and Beijing, says spokesperson Liu Pengyu. He said China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures. Beijing said the arms deal is shaking peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Long Range Anti-Ship missiles
Long Range Anti-Ship missiles Wikimedia Commons/ DARPA photo

However, the US State Department says the deal is in line with a longstanding US policy of providing defensive weapons to the island. It believes arms are "essential for Taiwan security". But China accused the US of interfering in its "internal affairs".

Liu tweeted that the United States continues to interfere in China's internal affairs and undermines China's sovereignty and security interests by selling arms to Taiwan. He said the US must "honour" its commitments to the one-China principle and described Taiwan as "an inalienable part of the Chinese territory". The spokesperson warned that China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, despite it being a self-governing democracy. The Asian giant has for long vowed to reunify the island nation with the mainland, even by force if necessary.

Pelosi Visit

Tensions between China and the US soared when the latter's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taipei last month. Beijing had tried to deter Pelosi off the trip but to no avail. After she left, China ordered Chinese military drills around the island.

US-Taiwan Arms Sale
Under the arms sale, Taiwan will get 40 new M109 self-propelled howitzers and almost 1,700 kits to convert projectiles into more precise GPS-guided munitions Twitter

Washington's latest decision reflects its support for Taiwan's continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability. A spokesman for the State Department said the arms deal is consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act wherein the US makes available to the island defence articles and services necessary to enable it maintain a sufficient self-defence capability.

The spokesman reiterated that approval of the weapons sales does not violate Washington's one-China policy. The State Department urged Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan, and to engage in meaningful dialogue with the island.