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Will take all necessary measures including sanctions on US companies involved in arms sale to Taiwan: China

Taiwan Air Force's F-16 fighter jets fly during a demonstration at Hualien airbase, eastern Taiwan. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Beijing Aug 21, 2019, 03.46 PM (IST)

China on Wednesday blasted a planned US arms shipment to self-ruled Taiwan and threatened to sanction US firms involved in the sale of F-16 fighter jets.

"China will take all necessary measures to safeguard our interests including imposing sanctions on the US companies participating in this arms sale to Taiwan," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing.

The US State Department on Tuesday approved the sale of 66 Lockheed Martin-built fighters, the F-16C/D Block 70, in an $8 billion deal, to Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said in a statement that President Donald Trump had green-lighted the proposed sale after Congress was notified last week.

The F-16s "are deeply consistent with the arrangements, the historical relationship between the United States and China," Pompeo said.

"Our actions are consistent with past US policy. We are simply following through on the commitments we've made to all of the parties."

Taiwan's plan to upgrade its air defenses comes amid increasing Chinese military incursions into its air space. 

A spokesman for the Taiwanese president released a statement saying the jets would "substantially enhance our air defense capabilities to help Taiwan's self-defense and maintain the people's freedom and welfare."

The sale's approval will have a key role in "peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and region, especially in the wake of China's frequent military actions... in the region in recent years," the statement said.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a part of China awaiting reunification, but the island is self-ruled and is a close ally of the United States.


 

Story highlights

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said in a statement that President Donald Trump had green-lighted the proposed sale after Congress was notified last week.