China protests to United States over planned arms sale to Taiwan

US risks more China tension with US$330 million Taiwan arms deal

China has demanded the US cancel a $330 million sale of military equipment to Taiwan, warning of "severe damage" to bilateral relations and cooperation if Washington fails to comply.

The Pentagon defended the sale, saying the sale will help "contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security and defensive capability of the recipient".

In a statement, the DSCA said the arms sale will cover standard spare parts and the fix or replacement of spare parts in support of such aircraft as the F-16, C-130, F-5, and Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF).

Washington remains Taipei's most powerful unofficial ally and its main arms supplier despite switching diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979.

USA military sales to self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, is an irritant in the relations between the world's two largest economies. As such, China opposes USA military sales to Taiwan.

In a statement on Tuesday, Taiwan's Presidential Office thanked the United States for its support and said the island would continue to "stay in close communication and cooperation" with Washington for issues including security.

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The six assurances, issued by former USA president Ronald Reagan in 1982, include the U.S. pledging not to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan, not to hold prior consultations with China regarding arms sales to Taiwan, and not to play a mediation role between Taiwan and China.

China is deeply suspicious of US intentions toward Taiwan, which is equipped with mostly USA -made weaponry and wants Washington to sell it more advanced equipment, including new fighter jets.

China and the USA are also at odds over China's wooing of Taiwan's diplomatic allies.

The move could also smack of hypocrisy, considering that the Trump administration recently sanctioned a branch of China's military over their purchase of Russian military equipment.

China's purchase of the weapons from Rosoboronexport, Russia's main arms exporter, violated a 2017 law meant to punish the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin for interfering in USA elections and other activities.

China retaliated to the latest USA tariffs by imposing duties on $60bn worth of U.S. goods.


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