China Demands US Cancel Arms Sale 09/25 06:26
BEIJING (AP) -- China on Tuesday demanded the U.S. cancel a $330 million
sale of military equipment to Taiwan, warning of "severe damage" to bilateral
relations and mutual cooperation if Washington fails to comply.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters at a regular briefing
that the sale violated international law and the "basic norms governing
It was unclear what aspect of international law Geng was referring to.
"We urge the U.S. side to ... immediately cancel this arms sale plan, and
stop military contact with Taiwan so as to avoid severe damage to China-U.S.
ties, peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and bilateral cooperation in
major fields," Geng said.
China's defense ministry issued a similar statement, saying the sale had
"interfered in China's internal affairs and harmed China's sovereignty and
Washington has no official relations with Taiwan's democratically elected
government but is obliged by U.S. law to see that it has the means to defend
The Trump administration said Monday that it had approved the sale of spare
parts and related support for Taiwan's U.S.-made F-16 fighters and other
The U.S. said the sale will improve Taiwan's ability to defend itself
without altering the basic military balance in Asia, where Washington and
Beijing are increasingly competing for dominance. China as a principle opposes
all U.S. military sales to Taiwan, which split with the mainland in 1949 but
which Beijing continues to claim as part of its territory and threatens to
invade to bring under its control.
The arms sale coincides with a U.S. decision to issue a visa ban and assets
freeze on China's Equipment Development Department and its director, Li
Shangfu, over the purchase from Russia of Su-35 combat aircraft in 2017 and
S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment this year.
China's purchase of the weapons from Rosoboronexport, Russia's main arms
exporter, violated a 2017 law intended to punish the government of Russian
President Vladimir Putin for interfering in U.S. elections and other activities.
In response, China summoned the American ambassador and defense attache to
deliver a protest and recalled its navy commander from a U.S. trip. China's
Defense Ministry said the U.S. had no right to interfere in Chinese military
cooperation with Russia and demanded the sanctions be revoked.
The Kremlin dismissed the sanctions as an "unfair" move to undercut Russia
as a major arms exporter.
In a further sign of retaliation, China turned down a request for an October
port call in Hong Kong by the U.S. Navy's amphibious assault ship USS Wasp,
according to the U.S. Consulate in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. China
last denied such a visit in 2016 amid a spike in tensions between the sides
over the disputed South China Sea.
Geng, the foreign ministry spokesman, declined to give details, saying only
that such requests were handled "case-by-case in accordance with the doctrine
of sovereignty and specific situation."