U.S. risks China backlash with Taiwan arms deal

The United States risks angering China by moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan.

Notification of the deals have gone to the U.S. Congress for approval in recent days, according to five sources familiar with the situation speaking on Monday (October 12).

The move was threatened with retaliation by China, which considers Taiwan a wayward province that it wishes to reunite with the mainland.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process, as the Trump administration attempts to ramp up pressure on China.

A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely damaged China's sovereignty and security interests.

Zhao Lijian told reporters “China will make a legitimate and necessary response according to how the situation develops."

He did not elaborate on what that response would be, but told Washington to immediately cancel the deal.

A truck-based rocket launcher, long-range air-to-ground missiles, and sophisticated imagery devices are believed to be the advanced items being sold to Taiwan by the U.S.

Taiwan’s Washington office and its defense ministry did not offer comment when asked by Reuters, but foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said the government had not been formally notified of any new arms sales.

Video Transcript

- The United States risks angering China by moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan. Notifications of the deals have gone to the US Congress for approval in recent days, according to five sources familiar with the situation speaking on Monday. The move was threatened with retaliation by China, which considers Taiwan a wayward province that it wishes to reunite with the mainland.

Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the US export process as the Trump administration attempts to ramp up pressure on China. A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said that US arms sales to Taiwan severely damage China's sovereignty and security interests.

ZHAO LIJIAN: [CHINESE]

- Zhao Lijian told reporters, quote, "China will make a legitimate and necessary response according to how the situation develops."

ZHAO LIJIAN: [CHINESE]

- He did not elaborate on what their response would be, but told Washington to immediately cancel the deal. A truck-based rocket launcher, long-range air-to-ground missiles, and sophisticated imagery devices are believed to be the advanced items being sold to Taiwan by the US. Taiwan's Washington office and its defense ministry did not offer comment when asked by Reuters. But foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said the government had not been formally notified of any new arms sales.