China complains to US about ‘dangerous’ weapons aid to Taiwan

Taiwanese soldiers handle their guns during the annual Han Kuang anti-landing drill in New Taipei City

Taiwanese soldiers handle their guns during the annual Han Kuang anti-landing drill in New Taipei City, Taiwan July 27, 2023. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo

BEIJING, Aug 1 (Reuters) – China said on Tuesday it has complained to the United States about a weapons aid package to Taiwan, urging Washington to refrain from going further down a “wrong and dangerous” path.

The U.S. unveiled an aid package for Taiwan worth up to $345 million on Friday as Congress authorised up to $1 billion worth of weapons aid for the island as a part of the 2023 budget.

A spokesperson for China’s defence ministry, Tan Kefei, said the U.S. must stop all forms of “military collusion” with Taiwan.

“The Taiwan issue concerns China’s core interests and is a red line that cannot be crossed in China-U.S. relations,” Tan said in a statement.

Beijing claims the democratically governed island as its own territory, and repeatedly warns against any forms of “official exchanges” between Washington and Taipei. Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims and says only Taiwan’s people can decide their future.

The United States, Taiwan’s most important arms supplier, is bound by law to provide it with the means to defend itself, despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties and the anger such weapons sales generate in Beijing.

The top U.S. general said in July it and allies should speed up weapons delivery to Taiwan in coming years to help the island defend itself.

China’s military has also been flexing its muscles around the island, recently sending dozens of fighters, bombers and other aircraft including drones into the skies to Taiwan’s south, according to Taiwan’s defence ministry.

China’s People’s Liberation Army is paying close attention to the situation in the Taiwan Strait and is always on high alert, Tan said.

Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Robert Birsel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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