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Taiwan rejects China's sanction threat over U.S. arms deal

2019-07-13  English News
Photo courtesy of CNA
Photo courtesy of CNA
Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage Photo courtesy of CNA
Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage Photo courtesy of CNA

Taipei, July 12 (CNA) Taiwan will not accept China's arrogant and suppressive remarks, Presidential Office spokesman Ting Yun-kung said Friday in response to Beijing's threat to impose sanctions on American companies that will participate in a recently announced arms sale to Taiwan.

Taiwan has the right to defend itself and participate in the international community, Ting stressed.

Meanwhile, Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu, who is in New York accompanying President Tsai Ing-wen on her visit to the United States and Caribbean allies, said Taiwan has the right to pursue freedom and democracy and uphold its sovereignty and independence, and added that she believes the U.S. and the world will give Taiwan more space.

Tsai embarked on a 12-day visit to four Caribbean diplomatic allies on July 11 (Taipei time), and is in New York on a two and a half visit before heading to the Caribbean.

Beijing announced Friday it will impose sanctions on American companies that participate in arms sales to Taiwan, at a time when Tsai's visit to New York was being interpreted as a sign of Washington's support to Taipei.

"The U.S. arms sales to Taiwan constitute a serious violation of international law and the basic norms governing international relations," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Friday in a statement posted on the website of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The statement described the arms sale as a serious violation of the "one China principle" and the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, adding that it undermines China's sovereignty and national security.

"To safeguard our national interests, China will impose sanctions on the U.S enterprises involved in [recently announced] arms sales to Taiwan," Geng said, referring to the most recent package of weapons offered by the U.S. to Taiwan.

On Monday, the U.S. State Department announced an arms package to Taiwan worth US$2.22 billion that included 108 M1A2T Abrams Tanks and relevant equipment and support, 250 Block I-92F MANPAD Stinger missiles, and four Block I-92 MANPAD Stinger Fly-to-Buy missiles and related equipment.

According to media reports, the U.S. companies that would participate in the latest arms sale would include General Dynamics Land Systems, Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, BAE Systems, Oshkosh Corporation, and Raytheon Company.

Asked to comment on Beijing's latest threat, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said "let's see what they do."

"I noticed that Beijing initially made a relatively mild statement about the arms sales. Having dealt with these statements for years and years, I found it relatively mild. The second day, however, they were a little harsher. So let's see what they do," Armitage said after a meeting with Tsai in New York.

He recalled that China made a similar threat many years ago when he was in the government.

"They said it but never did it. Very often much thunder but little rain," he said.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, said China's reaction indicates that it is not recognizing the arms deal as a government-to-government transaction.

"(This is a) government-to-government transaction, not a company-to-company transaction. So when Beijing cites companies, it's actually not recognizing that this is a government-to-government transaction between the government of Taiwan and the government of the United States," he said.