China has threatened to retaliate against the latest US weapons sale to the island-nation of Taiwan.
In an angry response to the US announcement on Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian completely ignored assurances by Taiwan that it was not looking to enter an arms race with Beijing.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump had issued the approval for a potential 1.8 billion Dollars arms sale to Taiwan, which Beijing has long called a breakaway province of its own.
Mr. Zhao said such sales should stop forthwith.
The sales “seriously interfere with China’s internal affairs, seriously damage China’s sovereignty and security interests, send a seriously wrong signal to Taiwan independence forces, and severely damage China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he warned.
He said China would “make a legitimate and necessary response according to how the situation develops”.
Although Mr. Zhao did not give details, it is on record that Beijing has sanctioned US companies in the past for selling arms to Taiwan.
The latest US arms package includes sensors, missiles and artillery.
Further deals are expected for drones and land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles to serve as coastal defence cruise missiles.
Since Mr. Trump assumed the US presidency in 2017, Washington has continued to ramp up support for democratically-ruled Taiwan through arms sales and visits by senior administration officials, adding to tensions between China and America.
Since the Communists overthrew China’s nationalist government and forced its leaders to flee to Taiwan in 1949, Beijing has been expanding its armed forces and increasing pressure on Taipei to be reunited with the mainland.