China has lodged an official protest over a decision by the United States to sell $1.83 billion in arms to Taiwan.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang met with the second-highest ranking U.S. diplomat in Beijing late Wednesday. The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement that Zheng said China will “take necessary measures, including the imposition of sanctions against companies participating in the arms sale to Taiwan.”
The U.S. State Department formally notified Congress Wednesday of its plan to sell two naval warships, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles and Stinger surface-to-air missiles. It’s the first arms package sale to Taiwan in four years.
China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, and has threatened to invade the island if it declares its independence.
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry urged the Obama administration to cancel the sale “and do something more conducive for China-U.S. relations and the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relations.”
U.S. State Department spokesman David McKeeby said the deal is consistent with the U.S. commitment to provide sufficient weapons to maintain Taiwan’s ability to defend itself.
Although Washington does not formally recognize Taiwan, federal law requires the U.S. to sell arms to the self-ruled island.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have been strained in recent years over China’s military expansion in disputed areas of the South China Sea.