China has warned it will use military action to thwart any attempts to support the sovereignty of Taiwan, especially through U.S. weapons sales to the self-ruled island nation.
The Chinese Ministry of Defense blasted the State Department's recent decision to grant U.S. firms the marketing license to sell Taiwan technology necessary for building submarines. The move came at a tense time for U.S.-Chinese relations as President Donald Trump slapped new tariffs on his economic rival, prompting Beijing to do the same. Both sides warned of a potential trade war.
"China firmly opposes the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, this is clear-cut and consistent. Taiwan is a part of China. One-China principle serves as the political foundation for the China-U.S. ties," ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian said, according to the official China Military Online.
"China’s military has the ability and determination to defeat all attempts to separate our country, and will adopt all necessary measures to resolutely defend national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity," he added.
As part of the One China Policy adopted by the U.S. in 1972, Washington only recognizes China's mainland government. A civil war saw Communist fighters force the Nationalist Kuomintang leadership into exile in Taiwan, which China claims to be part of its republic. Trump has challenged this notion and controversially accepted a congratulatory call from the Taiwanese president shortly after winning the November 2016 election.
Trump has also approved arms sales to Taiwan and expanded relations. China has maintained its position that Taiwan was to be reunited with the mainland government, even if force was necessary. China and the U.S. have bolstered their military presence in the South China Sea, where Beijing has allegedly built militarized islands intended to enforce its maritime territorial claims.
China's Foreign Ministry urged the United States to avoid official contacts with Taiwan, end attempts to substantially improve relations and stop military contracts for arms sales "so that China-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Straits will not be severely damaged," spokesman Geng Shuang said Monday during a regular press conference.
The U.S. military has hardened its position over China's Pacific military buildup, but Trump has been especially vocal over his economic feud with China, the largest U.S. trading partner.
From the campaign trail to the White House, Trump has accused China of unfair trade practices and stealing jobs from the U.S. He raised steel and aluminum tariffs last month in a bid to target Chinese trade and has sought to implement up to $100 billion in additional tariffs. China has already struck back with tariffs of its own and has raised the issue to the World Trade Organization.
"China has been taking advantage of the United States for many years, really, if you look at it since the start of the World Trade Organization. And they have really done a number on this country," Trump said Monday during a Cabinet meeting.
"And I don’t blame China. I blame the people running our country. I blame presidents, I blame representatives, I blame negotiators. We should have been able to do what they did. We didn’t do it; they did. And it’s the most lopsided set of trade rules, regulations that anybody has ever seen," he added.
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