BEIJING, March 3. /TASS/. China strongly protests against the supply of weapons from the United States to Taiwan and demands a to stop them, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei said on Friday.
"We strongly oppose the sale of arms to Chinese Taiwan," Tan said in a statement posted on the Defense Ministry’s WeChat page.
"We demand that the US cease arms sales to Taiwan and cease military ties with the island." He also urged Washington to "stop interfering in the Taiwan issue and stop escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait." In connection with the latest US plans to supply over $600 million worth of weapons to Taiwan, China lodged a serious protest, Tan added.
"The People's Liberation Army of China is always ready to strike back in case of provocations by supporters of 'independence' and interference by external forces," he said. The Chinese army will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, he vowed.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on Wednesday that the Department of State had authorized the sale of missiles for F-16 fighter jets and other systems to Taiwan. The deal is estimated at $619 million. As follows from the news release, Taiwanese representatives had previously requested permission from the United States to purchase 100 HARM anti-radar missiles, 200 AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile), as well as other systems and spare parts.
The US Congress now has 30 days to consider a potential deal and the possibly to block it. In case of approval the main contractors will be Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Missiles & Defense. The Pentagon has assured that the arms sale will not harm US combat readiness.
Taiwan has been governed by its own administration since 1949, when the remnants of the Kuomintang forces led by Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) fled there after their defeat in the Chinese Civil War. Since then, the island has retained the flag and some other attributes of the former Republic of China which existed on the mainland before the Communists came to power. Beijing considers Taiwan one of the provinces of the People’s Republic of China.