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23 Mar, 2019 04:49

‘Stop arms sales & military contact’: Beijing warns US against selling F-16s to Taiwan

‘Stop arms sales & military contact’: Beijing warns US against selling F-16s to Taiwan

Beijing has warned the US against selling F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, urging Washington to respect its sovereignty when it comes to the One China policy, to avoid seriously damaging bilateral relations.

“China resolutely opposes US arms sales to Taiwan, and this position remains consistent and firm,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters on Friday, after Bloomberg reported that Donald Trump was contemplating selling more than 60 F-16 units to Taipei.

Stressing that arms sales to the island will “seriously damage” the Sino-American ties, Beijing urged the US to “stop arms sales to and military contact with Taiwan.”

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Taiwan has become one of the most sensitive issues fueling the US-China spat since US President Donald Trump signaled his support of Taiwan’s president and deepened ties with the island via the Taiwan Travel Act legislation, passed last year.

Whether or not Trump will follow the friendly advice of the Asian giant this time remains to be seen. Bloomberg argues that Trump could potentially use F-16 sales as a bargaining chip in the ongoing trade negotiations. For now, the US administration has allegedly given a “tacit approval” to Taiwan’s request to buy American jets, people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg, noting that, for the sale to materialize, a formal proposal has to be issued by the State Department and the Pentagon first, before going to Congress for approval.

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