China pledges ‘legitimate & necessary’ response after Biden’s first arms sale to Taiwan approved by State Department

Beijing has vowed to retaliate after the US State Department gave the greenlight to a $750 million arms sale to Taiwan – President Joe Biden’s first to the island – arguing the deal damaged bilateral ties and Chinese sovereignty.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the proposed sale on Thursday, insisting that Taiwan is an “inalienable” part of the country’s territory while condemning Washington for emboldening Taiwanese separatist factions and threatening “peace and stability” in the region.

“China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the weapons sale “runs counter to international law and basic principles in international relations.”

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FILE PHOTO: Taiwanese soldiers operate a US-made Howitzer during a military drill on Nangan in the Matsu archipelago, off northern Taiwan, May 8, 2013.
$750mn in artillery gear & smart bomb kits: Biden’s first arms sale to Taiwan gets State Department approval

Biden’s State Department authorized the sale on Wednesday, allowing Taiwan to purchase some $750 million in self-propelled artillery units, precision-guided munition kits, .50 caliber machine guns and vehicles. The US Congress had 30 days to challenge the move starting Wednesday, though lawmakers are not expected to block the transfer. 

Taiwanese officials praised the US military support as a “basis for maintaining regional stability,” and expressed gratitude for the potential arms shipment that would help their forces to increase their “capacity for speedy reaction and fire support.”

Though the sale would be Biden’s first to Taiwan, his administration has pursued other forms of security and military cooperation with the territory, as well as regular ‘freedom of navigation’ transits through the Taiwan Strait, repeatedly stoking Beijing’s ire. 

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FILE PHOTO: Taiwanese soldiers take part in a combat drill ahead of the Chinese New year in Hsinchu, Taiwan, January 19, 2021.© Reuters / Ann Wang
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