China Fumes as US Hawks $1.8B in Weapons to Taiwan

It says transaction 'severely' damages China's sovereignty
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2015 8:29 AM CST
China Fumes as US Hawks $1.8B in Weapons to Taiwan
A US-made missile is launched during the annual Han Kuang No. 22 exercises in Ilan County, Taiwan, in this July 20, 2006, file photo.   (AP Photo/FILE)

The US stands by the "one-China" policy, but that doesn't mean it can't sell weapons directly to Taiwan, citing ithe Taiwan Relations Act to ensure Taiwan can adequately defend itself—and China isn't happy about it. The Obama administration announced a $1.8 billion arms package sale to Congress on Wednesday, Reuters reports, including guided-missile frigates, anti-tank missiles, Amphibious Assault Vehicles, and $416 million worth of guns, ammo, and other supplies. The announcement came amid reports that the US had stalled the sale to avoid hearing about it from China, which still claims Taiwan as a territory, per the Wall Street Journal. Reuters notes the sale comes as US-China relations simmer over the latter's man-made islands in the South China Sea and US patrols in those waters.

China notes it's going to sanction the companies involved in the sale (including Lockheed Martin and Raytheon), with a foreign ministry official telling Xinhua that the sale flouts international rules and "severely" damages China's sovereignty. "China's government and companies will not carry out cooperation and commercial dealings with these types of companies," a ministry spokesman says. A Pentagon spokesman gave the equivalent of an eyeroll Wednesday, per the New York Times, noting, "The Chinese can react to this as they see fit. … It's a [clear-eyed], sober view of an assessment of Taiwan's defense needs. … There's no need for it to have any derogatory effect on our relationship with China." Meanwhile, the AP notes that China has issued similar threats before, with "no evidence they've had any meaningful effect." (All this despite a lengthy handshake last month.)

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