China opposes US arms sale to Taiwan

China explains its opposition to US arms sale to Taiwan, saying that it should be stopped so as not to threaten relations with US and also ties between Taipei and Beijing

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US President Barack Obama leaves with US Defense Secretary Ash Carter after delivering a statement on December 14, 2015

China on Wednesday strongly criticised an expected US arms sale to Taiwan, saying it should be canceled to avoid harming relations between Taipei and Beijing.

The criticism from Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, follows a stern warning from China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday that the sale threatened relations with the US

"We resolutely oppose sales of weaponry or military technology to Taiwan by any country in any form or using any excuse," Ma told reporters at a regularly scheduled briefing.

"Meanwhile, we also hope that the Taiwanese side will treasure the excellent hard-won results of the peaceful development of relations between the sides and do more to benefit the improvement and development of ties between the two sides," Ma said.

China claims Taiwan as part of Chinese territory, to be reunified with by force if necessary, and opposes all arms sales to the island.

Despite that, relations have undergone a steady improvement over the past two decades, especially under the China-friendly administration of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.

That culminated last month in a meeting between Ma and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Singapore, the first time the heads of state had met since the sides split amid civil war in 1949.

US congressional aides say the Obama administration is planning its first arms sale to Taiwan in four years to include navy frigates, mine sweepers, Stinger missiles and other equipment. The US has long been the primary supplier to the island's armed forces.