Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

China protests to United States over planned arms sale to Taiwan

China protests to United States over planned arms sale to Taiwan

The U.S. State Department has approved a proposal to sell arms worth US$330 million to Taiwan to upgrade Taipei's defensive capabilities, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said Monday.

USA military sales to self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, are an irritant in ties between the world's two largest economies.

"As Taiwan faces gradually heightened threats, the USA arms sales would. also boost Taiwan's confidence in strengthening self-defence to help maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday in Beijing that Washington's plan to sell Taipei $330 million of spare parts for the F-16 fighter jet, the C-130 cargo plane and other military aircraft violates global laws. The sale will be concluded once the United States and Taiwan sign a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) covering the deal.

China's defense ministry issued a similar statement, saying the sale had "interfered in China's internal affairs and harmed China's sovereignty and security interests".

The U.S. said the sale will improve Taiwan's ability to defend itself without altering the basic military balance in Asia, where Washington and Beijing are increasingly competing for dominance.

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The $330 million contract would see the USA ship standard spare parts for several aircraft including the F-16 fighter and the C-130 cargo plane, the State Department said in a statement on Monday.

China has stepped up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan since the Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen took office two years ago, including staging a series of military exercises near the island.

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. Lockheed Martin Corp LMT.N makes the F-16.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring what it sees as a wayward province under its control.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory under Beijing's "One China" policy.

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