China 'firmly' opposes US arms sale to Taiwan

Two US-made Taiwanese F-16 fighter jets take-of from the Hualien air force base in Taiwan on January 23, 2013

China on Friday condemned a $1.3 billion US arms sale to Taiwan and called on the United States to stop any weapons deal with the island, which Beijing considers a rebel province. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a press briefing that Beijing has lodged a formal protest with Washington and urged the US government to "uphold its solemn commitment to the One-China principle". "Taiwan is an indispensable part of China's territory and we firmly oppose this arms sale to Taiwan," Lu said. Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said that peace could only be maintained by "actively improving our readiness and self-defence capabilities" at a graduation ceremony at Taiwan's National Defense University on Friday. "Even at peace we should never forget that Taiwan remains under enormous threat. Peace shouldn't be taken for granted and national defence shouldn't be overlooked because of peace," she said. "We will not even yield one step or one inch when it comes to facing threats and defending the territory," she added. The comments come after China's embassy in the United States slammed the sale, saying it was a "wrong move" that would hurt relations between the two countries. "The wrong move of the US side runs counter to the consensus reached by the two presidents in Mar-a-Lago and the positive development momentum of the China-US relationship," the embassy said. "It will harm the mutual trust and cooperation between China and the US." Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his US counterpart Donald Trump at the billionaire's luxury resort in Florida in April. Relations between the two countries had appeared to improve since the talks, with Trump hailing an "outstanding" relationship with Xi. But there are signs the honeymoon might be over with Trump criticising China for not doing enough to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions and the US slapping sanctions on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean cash.

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