China hints at action against US planned weapon sale to Taiwan

Kyodo News

Posted at Jul 12 2019 08:14 AM

US Marines prepare their M1 Abrams tank to take part in an exercise to capture an airfield as part of the Trident Juncture 2018, a NATO-led military exercise, on November 1, 2018 near the town of Oppdal, Norway. Agence France-Presse file photo

BEIJING - China's Defense Ministry indicated Thursday that it will take reciprocal action to counter the recent U.S. approval to sell weapons to Taiwan.

The Chinese military will "take all necessary measures" to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement, adding that Beijing has already lodged a protest against Washington.

The U.S. move "will threaten development of militaries of both counties and damage peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," the spokesman said, urging the United States to withdraw its plan.

The U.S. State Department has approved a planned sale of weapons, including tanks and surface-to-air missiles, to Taiwan for an estimated cost of $2.22 billion, the Defense Department said earlier this week.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has forged close relations with self-ruled, democratic Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province awaiting reunification.

Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately since they split amid a civil war in 1949. Beijing has since then endeavored to undermine Taipei's quest for international recognition.

China has stepped up such efforts, particularly since President Tsai Ing-wen -- who belongs to the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party -- came to power in Taiwan in May 2016.