China pledges ‘proper and necessary response’ to new US arms sale to Taiwan

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China pledged that it would initiate a “proper and necessary response” to the U.S. arms sale to Taiwan announced on Election Day.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday that the planned $600 million drone sale to the autonomous island “brutally interferes in China’s internal affairs and seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests,” The Associated Press reported.  

In a message to reporters, Wang called on the U.S. to back out of the deal “so as to avoid further damage to China-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

A formal notice sent to Congress on Tuesday showed President Trump’s administration officially supported an agreement to sell Taiwan up to four advanced surveillance drones. 

The drone sale became the first approved since Trump officials eased restrictions for such sales in July. 

The deal represents the third arms sale to Taipei in three weeks. The State Department said it “serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability.”

The administration backed a $2.4 billion sale of Boeing’s Harpoon Coastal Defense System and 400 Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles last week. The sale was announced hours after China declared sanctions on U.S. defense contractors, including Boeing.

The week prior, officials approved a $1.8 billion sale of air-to-ground missiles, truck-mounted rocket launchers and reconnaissance pods for fighter jets. 

China considers Taiwan part of its a territory, although the island has ruled itself for decades.

The U.S. has kept unofficial ties with the autonomous island, although the Trump administration has made moves to improve relations in recent years. The U.S. also is Taiwan’s main source for weapons. 

U.S.-Chinese relations have soured in recent months amid disputes over the coronavirus pandemic, trade, technology and human rights. China has also increased military flights in Taiwanese airspace as a show of force, including as U.S. officials held meetings on the island.

Tags arms sales China defense contractors Department of Defense Department of State Donald Trump drones Pentagon sanctions Taiwan

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