China urges US to cancel $2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan
China demanded on Tuesday that the United States “immediately cancel” a potential sale of $2.2 billion in arms to self-ruled Taiwan, including battle tanks and anti-aircraft missiles, adding fuel to tensions between the two powers.
It would be the first big-ticket US military sale to the democratically-governed island in decades, and comes as ties between Washington and Beijing are already strained by their trade war.
China has lodged formal complaints through diplomatic channels expressing “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition” to the move, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.
The deal includes 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger portable anti-aircraft missiles, related equipment and support at an estimated cost of just over $2.2 billion, according to the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).
The proposed sale “will contribute to the modernisation of the recipient’s main battle tank fleet”, improve its air defence system and “support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to improve the security and defensive capability (of Taiwan),” DSCA said.
It would not alter the “basic military balance in the region,” the agency added, and Congress has been notified.
Geng said the proposed deal “seriously violates the one-China principle” and “grossly interferes” in the country’s internal affairs. “China urges the US to immediately cancel the planned arms sale and stop military relations with Taipei to avoid damaging Sino-US relations and harming peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he said.
The US State Department has approved the possible sale to Taiwan of M1A2T Abrams tanks, Stinger missiles and related equipment at an estimated value of $2.2 billion, the Pentagon said
Abrams tanks and Stinger missiles-which are portable and can be quickly moved by soldiers in the field-would significantly increase Taiwan’s ability to counter Chinese armour and warplanes in the event of an invasion
Taiwan has been ruled separately from China since the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing considers it a part of its territory to be retaken-by force if necessary.