UPDATES WITH STATEMENT FROM CHINA, CHANGES DECK, EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) – The Biden administration on Wednesday gave the nod for its first potential arms sale to Taiwan, a deal worth up to $750 million that is likely to further stoke tensions with China.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the sale of 40 155mm M109A6 Paladin Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer System and related equipment was approved.
“This sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s (Taiwan) continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” read a DSCA statement.
“The sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”
Washington will also dispatch “support teams” to Taiwan “on a temporary basis” for personnel training and related issues, the DSCA said.
“The sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” it added.
During former President Donald Trump’s tenure, Washington signed defense deals worth $18 billion with Taiwan, selling weapons worth over $4 billion just last year.
- ‘US interfering in internal affairs, undermining sovereignty’
China said the latest move by Washington “runs counter to international law and basic principles in international relations, and violates the One China principle and provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, especially the August 17 Communique.”
“Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The US interferes in China’s internal affairs and undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests by selling arms to the Taiwan region,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Urging Washington to stop arms sales to and military interactions with Taiwan, Beijing said such actions send “wrong signals to Taiwan independence separatist forces, and severely jeopardize China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
“China is firmly opposed to this and has lodged solemn representations with the US side. China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary countermeasures in light of the development of the situation,” the statement added.
Beijing claims the island nation of Taiwan as a “breakaway province,” while Taipei insists it has been independent since 1949.
Since taking office this January, President Joe Biden has also sent high-level delegations to Taipei for discussions focused on economic and defense relations.