US government approves sale of weapons, including 60 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and 100 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, a package China says will "severely jeopardise" ties between Washington and Beijing.

China says Taiwan is its breakaway province and has never ruled out using force to bring the island under its control. Taiwan says it's an independent country.
China says Taiwan is its breakaway province and has never ruled out using force to bring the island under its control. Taiwan says it's an independent country. (TRTWorld)

China has warned of "counter-measures" unless the United States revoked a $1.1 billion arms package to Taiwan that it said "severely jeopardises" relations between Washington and Beijing.

"China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation," China's US embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu said on Friday.

China's angry response came after the US State Department approved a potential $1.1 billion sale of military equipment to Taiwan, including 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles.

The package was announced in the wake of China's aggressive military drills around Taiwan following a visit to the island last month by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking US official to travel to Taipei in years.

The sale includes Sidewinder missiles, which can be used for air-to-air and surface-attack missions, at a cost of some $85.6 million, Harpoon anti-ship missiles at an estimated $355 million cost and support for Taiwan's surveillance radar programme for an estimated $665.4 million, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said.

The principal contractor for the Harpoon missiles is Boeing Co. Raytheon is the principal contractor for both the Sidewinders and the radar program.

READ MORE: US accuses China of 'provocative' military activity near Taiwan

China-Taiwan tension

The Pentagon said the equipment and support announced on Friday would not alter the basic military balance in the region. US officials said they did not reflect any change in policy toward Taiwan.

China says Taiwan is its breakaway province and has never ruled out using force to bring the island under its control. 

Taiwan says it's an independent country. 

The US arms sales must be reviewed by Congress, but both Democratic and Republican congressional aides said they do not expect opposition. 

READ MORE: Taiwan vows to 'counter-attack' if Chinese forces enter its territory

Source: AFP