China on Thursday said it firmly opposes the planned US sale of advanced torpedoes to Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy, which Beijing claims is a breakaway province.
The Chinese foreign ministry reacted angrily after reports emerged from Taiwan about the sale valued at some $180 million.
Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Beijing had lodged “solemn representations” with the US to complain about the sale, adding that it firmly opposes the deal.
Zhao said China urges the US to strictly abide by the “one China” principle, stop selling arms to Taiwan, avoid further damage to Sino-US relations and maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Earlier, media reports said the US government had notified Congress of a possible sale of advanced torpedoes to Taiwan worth around $180 million, a decision that was bound to trigger angry reaction from Beijing.
Washington like the majority of countries worldwide including India do not have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, an island off China’s southern coast.
It is however bound by law to provide Taiwan the means to protect itself.
The announcement of the sale coincided with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen searing in for her second term in office, and saying that she strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims.
China responded that “reunification” was inevitable and that it would never tolerate Taiwan’s independence.
The latest point of conflict between Beijing and Washington added to the existing problems between the two countries including the ongoing exchange over the origin of the pandemic-causing Covid-19 virus.
The US has repeatedly criticised China for mishandling the outbreak and hiding information about the virus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
China has hit back, saying accusing the Donald Trump administration of politicising a global health problem to deflect attention from its own failure to handle the outbreak in the country.
China has more or less brought the outbreak under control with numbers stabilising near 83000 infections and over 4600 deaths.
The US has so far reported more than 1.55 million infections and over 93,000 deaths, according to the latest tally by Johns Hopkins University. ■