US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — China warned France not to sell weapons to Taiwan, which plans to purchase weapons as part of the modernization of the navy, which was purchased from the French side 30 years ago, reports Reuters.
China says that Taiwan is part of “united China,” and that this principle should be accepted by any country with which Beijing has diplomatic relations. Arms sales to Taiwan are always very sensitive and regularly provoke strong reactions from the PRC authorities.
Taiwan is mainly equipped with American weapons, but in 1991 France sold six frigates to Taiwan, which angered China. France also sold 60 fighter jets to Taiwan in 1992.
Taiwan said last month that it was seeking to purchase equipment from France to upgrade shipborne missile defense systems.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China strongly opposed any arms shipments to Taiwan.
“We have already expressed our grave concern to France,” he said at a daily briefing.
“We again urge the French side to adhere to the principle of a united China and to withdraw the plan to sell arms to Taiwan in order to avoid harming Sino-French relations,” he said.
In response, the Taiwan Ministry of Defense stated that the navy is in compliance with the relevant rules for the purchase of weapons to meet its “military needs.”
Taiwan says it needs to modernize its armed forces to cope with the growing threat from China, which has stepped up military exercises in recent months near the island.
It is noted that China describes Taiwan as the most sensitive and important territorial problem and has never refused to use force to establish control over the island.
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