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Iran Press TV

China threatens US with 'legitimate response' over arms sales to Taiwan

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 22 October 2020 11:10 AM

China has censured the United States' approval of advanced arms sales to Taiwan as interference in its domestic affairs and warned of a "legitimate response."

The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that the US Department of State had approved the sale of three weapons systems to Taiwan, including sensors, missiles, and artillery, with a total value of $1.8 billion.

The arms sales included 135 AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) missiles and related equipment made by Boeing, and six MS-110 Recce external sensor pods made by Collins Aerospace. Also among the weapons were 11 truck-based rocket launchers called High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) by Lockheed Martin Corp.

Responding the approval of the billion-dollar arms sales to Taiwan, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said during a daily news briefing that Washington should put a halt to such sales to the self-ruled island.

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," Zhao said.

"China will give a legitimate and necessary response according to how the situation develops," he added, without providing details.

Taiwan's defense minister Yen De-fa has welcomed the advanced weapons package and said the sales will help Taipei improve its military capabilities to deal with the "enemy threat and new situation."

China, which considers Taiwan as a breakaway province that should be reunited with the mainland, firmly opposes any relations between Washington and Taipei.

Under the internationally-recognized "One China" policy, almost all world countries — including the US — recognize Chinese sovereignty over the self-ruled island.

But the US has been courting Taiwan in an attempt to unnerve Beijing. Washington almost regularly makes provocative moves around the self-governed island, particularly by sailing its warships through the sensitive and strategic Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from mainland China.

Washington is also the island's largest weapons supplier and an avid backer of Taiwan's secessionist president Tsai Ing-wen.

Tensions between the US and China remain at their highest point in decades, with sharp divisions over a host of political and economic issues, including trade, Hong Kong, and the coronavirus pandemic.

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