China warns of ‘countermeasures’ as US approves $1.1bn arms sale to Taiwan


China has warned the US of “countermeasures” after the Biden administration approved more than $1.1 trillion in arms sales to Taiwan.

Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu said on Saturday that China was “firmly opposed” to the sales, which “seriously endanger China-US relations and the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait”, and called on Washington to “immediately cancel”.

Liu’s comments on Twitter came after the Biden administration formally announced the sale to Congress on Friday of up to 60 anti-ship missiles and up to 100 air-to-air missiles.

The State Department said the sales were in line with long-standing US policy to provide the island with defensive weapons and described the “rapid supply” of such weapons as “vital to Taiwan’s security”.

China, however, has accused the US of interfering in what it sees as its internal affairs.

The Chinese Communist Party claims Taiwan, an autonomous democracy, as part of its territory – despite never having ruled it – and has long vowed to “reunify” the island with mainland China, if necessary by force.

“The US interferes in China’s internal affairs and undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests by selling arms to Taiwan,” Liu tweeted.

“It sends the wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and seriously jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Liu said.

He called on the US to “fulfill its commitments to the one-China principle” and concluded his series of tweets by saying that Taiwan is “an indisputable part of China’s territory” and warned that China would “take legitimate decisions and take necessary countermeasures”. ”

US-China tensions have risen since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last month.

China warned Pelosi about the trip, and responded by ordering military exercises for several days after leaving the island.

Taiwan said on Saturday that it “very much welcomes” the latest arms sales and thanked the US government for “continuing to fulfill its security commitments to Taiwan”.

“In response to China’s recent continuous military provocations and unilateral changes to the status quo and the creation of crises, Taiwan’s determination to defend itself is very firm,” Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Saturday.

“This series of arms sales includes a wide variety of missiles needed to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense, which fully demonstrates the high importance the US government attaches to Taiwan’s defense needs in order to obtain the equipment needed to support our country. timely defense and to improve our defense capabilities.’

In an incident that underscored the escalation of tensions, Taiwan’s military shot down a drone over one of its islands off the Chinese coast on Thursday.

A day earlier, Taiwan said it had warned of drones flying over three islands it occupies off the coast of the Chinese port city of Xiamen.