Taiwan condemns China over threat to sanction U.S. arms dealer

07/14/2020 09:59 PM
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A Patriot Surface-to-Air missile is fired. CNA file photo
A Patriot Surface-to-Air missile is fired. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 14 (CNA) Taiwan's foreign ministry on Tuesday condemned China after Beijing earlier in the day threatened to impose sanctions on a U.S. company over its involvement in selling weapons to the country.

Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) condemned China over its threat to sanction Lockheed Martin, the primary contractor in an arms sale package to upgrade Taipei's Patriot Surface-to-Air missiles, approved by Washington last week.

Ou said China's aggressive moves in sending warplanes and warships to operate near Taiwan in recent months have destabilized regional peace and security, pose a serious threat to the security of Taiwan and concern nearby countries.

It is only because of the growing threat from China that Taiwan has to purchase weapon systems to boost its self-defense capability, Ou said.

"We are doing this to maintain cross-strait peace and to defend the nation's sovereignty and democratic system," she continued, while reiterating that Beijing's "irrational and barbaric threats" will not change Taiwan's firm rejection of the "one country, two systems" model China supports in its push for cross-strait reunification.

Ou pledged that Taiwan will continue to enhance cooperation with like-minded countries in boosting its self-defense capacity to maintain peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Ou's remarks were made in response to a statement issued by her Chinese counterpart Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) in a press event earlier Tuesday, during which Zhao said China will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, without going into detail.

The United States should "stop selling arms to Taiwan and cut its military ties to Taiwan, so it won't do further harm to bilateral relations between China and the United States," he added.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of State announced that it has approved a request by Taiwan for the recertification of its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) air defense missiles, at an estimated cost of US$620 million. The main contractor for the deal is Lockheed Martin, a U.S.-based aerospace, defense, arms, security, and advanced technologies company.

The latest announcement is the seventh arms sales package U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has announced since taking office in January 2017, according to Taiwan's defense ministry.

(By Chen Yun-yu and Joseph Yeh)

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