Biden approves $1.1bn arms sales to Taiwan, China responds
Three contracts await approval from the US Congress, which China denounced as it could “severely jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."
Escalating tensions with China, the Biden administration has announced the sale of $1.1bn worth of arms to Taiwan within the framework of three contracts.
The largest contract is owed to a $655 million logistics package for the Taiwanese surveillance radar program. Harpoon air-to-sea missiles worth $355 million form the second contract while the third consists of Sidewinder air-to-air missiles worth $85 million, revealed the US Department of State, asserting that the equipment was necessary for Taiwan to “maintain a sufficient self-defense capability”.
US Congress has a countdown of 30 days to assess the agreements and give approval to the sales.
Washington alleged that the deal is consistent with the One-China policy, while also urging Beijing “to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan”.
A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, remarked on the arms sale to TASS, saying it “severely jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary countermeasures in light of the development of the situation.
"Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The United States interferes in China's internal affairs and undermines China's sovereignty and security interests by selling arms to the Taiwan region," he said, explaining that Washington's move "sends wrong signals" to Taiwan's separatist forces, in addition to that it against "international law and basic principles in international relations."
The decision, furthermore, "violates the one-China principle and provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, especially the August 17 Communique."
This week, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense confirmed that it bought a new batch of the US Javelin anti-tank missiles and announced that it was planning on increasing its order of the HIMARS rocket systems amid heightened tensions with China.
Taiwan announced last week plans to increase its security budget, proposing a security budget of $13.7 billion for 2023, marking a 13% year-on-year increase, pending parliamentary approval.
Tensions soared between China and Taiwan earlier last month, reaching their highest in decades, due to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island after Beijing warned both Washington and Taipei against such a trip.
The bipartisan trip sparked a caustic response from Beijing, which said it had carried out "combat readiness patrol and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island."
In response to the delegation's visit, Beijing called on Washington to "stop going further down the wrong path of hollowing out and distorting the one-China principle, so as not to cause further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."
Since early August, China has carried out several large-scale military exercises near Taiwan in response to the visits of high-ranking US officials to the island.
Pelosi's visit also led China to announce ending cooperation with the United States on a number of issues such as climate change, anti-drug efforts, and military talks.