China threatens retaliation over new U.S. arms sales to Taiwan

Amid tensions with China, US to sell air-to-ground cruise missiles to Taiwan

In a move that will irk China, the United States on Tuesday approved the potential sale of three weapon systems to Taiwan, including missiles and artillery, that could have a total value of Dollars 1.8 billion.

Beijing has applied increasing pressure on democratically-ruled Taiwan to accept China's sovereignty, including by flying fighter jets across the sensitive mid-line of the Taiwan Strait, which normally serves as an unofficial buffer.

The US move is "sending a very wrong signal to separatist forces advocating for Taiwan independence, and seriously damages China-US relations", Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said at a regular news briefing.

China's Foreign Ministry says the arms deal would likely have a major impact on its relationship with the United States and that it would respond as necessary, according to Reuters news agency.

It did, though, thank the USA, and said the weapons were to help improve its defense and deal with the - quote - "enemy threat and new situation".

Speaking to reporters, Mr Yen thanked the United States and said the sales were to help Taiwan improve their defensive capabilities to deal with the "enemy threat and new situation".

Zhao said China would "make a legitimate and necessary response depending how the situation evolves".

"This includes a credible combat capability and asymmetric warfare capabilities to strengthen our determination to defend ourselves", he added.

"This proposed sale serves USA national, economic and security interests by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernise its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability", it said in a statement.

"This shows the importance attached by the United States to security in the Indo Pacific and Taiwan Strait".

"Taiwan needs to start looking at some asymmetric and anti-access area denial strategies. and really fortify itself in a manner that would deter the Chinese from any sort of amphibious invasion or even a grey zone operation against them", he said.

The modernization of its armed forces, which centers on the development of asymmetrical warfare, remains a priority for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Beijing has always called Taiwan "an inseparable part of its territory" and asked other countries to adhere to the "One China" policy.

Further deals are expected for drones and land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles to serve as coastal defence cruise missiles.

The PLA also recently released a propaganda video simulating an attack on Taiwan that included missile strikes on USA military bases in Guam.

For decades, the Chinese government has claimed authority over Taiwan.



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