TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Shortly after news broke on Tuesday (July 9) that the U.S. State Department has approved US$2.2 billion worth of Abrams tanks, Stinger missiles, and other equipment, the Chinese government has cried foul at the deal, saying it represents "outside interference" with the "Taiwan question" and urged the U.S. to immediately cancel the deal.
In two press releases issued on Monday, Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the U.S. State Department has approved the possible sale of 108 M1A2T Abrams Tanks and 250 I -92F MANPAD Stinger missiles to Taiwan. Other major weapons in the potential arms sale include 122 M2 Chrysler Mount Machine Guns, 216 M240 Machine Guns, 14 M88A2 HERCULES Vehicles, 16 M1070A1 Heavy Equipment Transporters (HET), and four I -92F MANPAD Stinger Fly-to-Buy missiles.
On her Facebook page, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed her appreciation to the U.S. government for the defensive weapons, saying that they would strengthen Taiwan's self-defense abilities and deter military aggression, while ensuring peace in the Taiwan Strait and region as a whole. In a statement released on Tuesday, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense pointed out that this was the fourth weapons sale to Taiwan under the Trump administration, demonstrating a normalization of arms sales by Washington to Taiwan.
M1A2T Abrams Tank. (Youth Daily News photo)
During a press conference in Beijing that same day, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China had lodged a formal complaint through diplomatic channels to express its "strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition" to the possible sale. Shuang referred to the potential sale as "crude interference" in China's internal matters which inflicts harm on "China's sovereignty and security interests."
Shuang added that "China urges the US to ... immediately cancel the planned arms sale and stop military relations with Taipei to avoid damaging Sino-US relations and harming peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait." He closed by saying, "Nobody should underestimate the Chinese government's and people's firm determination to defend the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity and oppose foreign interference."
On its Twitter page the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. shot out a tweet referring to the matter as the "Taiwan question" which it claimed is "purely China's internal affairs." The embassy then urged the U.S. to back out of the arms deal and "sever military ties with Taiwan."