Ire between Washington and Beijing piles in: China vows sanctions on US firms over Taiwan arms sale

China vows sanctions on US firms over Taiwan arms sale

Beijing says the proposed $2.2bn sale ‘violates’ international laws as it also opposes Taiwan leader’s trip to New York.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has expressed grave concern about Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's US visit [Lajos Soos/MTI via AP]
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has expressed grave concern about Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s US visit [Lajos Soos/MTI via AP]

China has said it would impose sanctions on US companies involved in a potential arms sale worth $2.2bn to self-ruled Taiwan, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi warning Washington “not to play with fire”

The planned weapons sale, the first transfer of big-ticket US military gear to democratically-governed Taiwan in decades, came as ties between Washington and Beijing are already strained by their trade war.

“The US arms sale to Taiwan has severely violated the basic norms of international law and international relations,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on Friday.

“In order to safeguard national interests, China will impose sanctions on US enterprises participating in this sale of weapons to Taiwan,” he said.

Wang Yi, during his visit to Hungary, asked the US to “recognise the gravity of the Taiwan question”.

China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, bristles at any country that lends the island state any diplomatic support or legitimacy.

Even though Taiwan, which split from China following a civil war in 1949, doesn’t have diplomatic ties with the US, Washington provides Taipei with military and other support. Beijing regards this as interference in its internal affairs.

On Monday, the US State Department announced the $2.2bn potential arms sale to Taiwan, which includes 108 Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles.

Following the announcement, Beijing lodged formal complaints through diplomatic channels expressing “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition” andthe US “immediately cancel” the arms sale.

The US shrugged off China’s complaints, saying the military equipment would contribute to “peace and stability” in Asia.

Controversial trip

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in New York on Friday on a two-night “transit” stop on her way to four Caribbean nations – Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and St Lucia – for an official visit.

The Caribbean island nations are among the few countries that recognise Taiwan instead of China.

The Taiwanese leader was also scheduled to deliver a speech at a US-Taiwan business summit and attend a dinner with members of the Taiwanese-American community. She is scheduled to make another two-night stop on her way home.

Before departing, Tsai  to share the values of democracy and perseverance with Taiwan’s friends.

“Our democracy has not come easily and now is facing the threat and technological penetration of foreign forces,” she said in a veiled reference to China.

In response, China urged the US to “abide by the ‘One China’ principle” and asked the US to “not allow Tsai Ing-wen’s stopover, cease official exchanges with Taiwan and refrain from providing any platform for separatist Taiwan independence forces”.

Source :

Al Jazeera

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