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PLA opposes $2.2b sale of US weapons

By ZHANG ZHIHAO | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-12 07:18
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Photo shows Wu Qian, spokesperson with the Ministry of National Defense, speaks at the press conference on May 30, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Military urges revocation of Taiwan deal, warns of damage to relations

The People's Liberation Army is strongly dissatisfied by and resolutely opposes Washington's recent approval of a $2.2 billion arms deal for Taiwan, an action that has seriously undermined Sino-US military relations, according to Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense.

The PLA urges the United States to revoke the deal, Wu said in an online statement on Thursday.

Taiwan is an inseparable part of China and the Taiwan question is China's internal affair in which no foreign interference is allowed, Wu said.

"China's adamant opposition against US arms sales to Taiwan has always been clear and consistent," he said. "The wrongful actions by the US have seriously violated the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiques, and they have interfered with China's domestic affairs and violated its sovereignty and security interests."

The arms deal also "severely undermined Sino-US military-to-military relations and bilateral ties, and gravely damaged the peace and security of the Taiwan Straits region," he added.

On Tuesday, the US State Department approved a possible arms sale to Taiwan, which includes more than 100 M1A2T Abrams tanks and around 250 Stinger shoulder-fired missiles. If it goes through, the deal would be the largest military sale to Taiwan since US President Donald Trump took office.

Wu said China urges the US to keep its promises and uphold the one-China principle, immediately cancel the arms deal, and cut all military interactions with Taiwan to avoid further damage to military relations and bilateral ties.

"The PLA has the adamant will, full confidence and sufficient capability to foil any form of foreign interference and Taiwan secession effort," Wu said. "The Chinese military will take all necessary actions to resolutely protect national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a news briefing on Tuesday that no one should underestimate the will and determination of the Chinese government and people to safeguard the country's sovereignty.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said on Tuesday that the US should immediately cancel its arms deal to Taiwan and "stop sending wrong signals to the separatist forces of Taiwan independence".

Ma also informed the pro-secession Democratic Progressive Party that any act relying on foreign forces to stoke cross-Straits tensions will backfire and bring dire consequences.

Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said it is typical for the US to play the Taiwan card as leverage to pressure China.

"We have to be mindful that Taiwan is a key component of the US confrontational strategy toward Beijing, and Washington will keep playing this card repeatedly to try to get what it wants," he said. "The Taiwan question is a matter of Chinese core interests and is nonnegotiable. If the US keeps ignoring China's resolve and bottom line, China will have no choice but to strongly counter."

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