Chinese Ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, has lambasted Washington over its plans to sell $1.42bn (£1.09bn) in arms to Taiwan, the island nation that Beijing considers as its renegade province. It is the first weapons sales to Taiwan since President Donald Trump took charge of the White House.
The US State Department announced on Thursday (29 June) that the Trump administration had informed Congress of its intention to approve seven proposed sales to the Tsai Ing-wen government in Taipei.
"It's now valued about $1.42 billion," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
The sales showed the US' "support for Taiwan's ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability," she added.
However, she clarified that this deal would not impact the long-standing 'One China' policy and that the US recognises Taiwan as part of the mainland China.
The seven items as part of the deal is reported to include technical support for early warning radar, high-speed anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and missile components, Reuters quoted Nauert as saying.
The package mainly represented "upgrades to existing defense capabilities aimed at converting current legacy systems from analog to digital," she added.
Washington is the sole arms supplier to Taiwan and is obligated to help Taiwan defend itself. But it is known that such deals do not get good reception from China, which has reportedly slowed down the pace of sales.
Cui said the deal would undermine confidence between the Washington and Beijing, according to China Daily.
"All these actions – sanctions against Chinese companies, especially arms sales to Taiwan, will certainly undermine the mutual confidence between the two sides and runs counter to the spirit of the Mar-a-Lago summit," Cui said. He referred to the first summit between Trump his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in April in Florida.
He added that China lodged a strong complaint to the US as it violated the 'One China' policy. He spoke to reporters on Thursday (29 June) evening on the sidelines of an event celebrating the 20<sup>th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China from the British rule.
China reserves the right for further response to US actions, Cui added.
The previous arms sales to Taiwan was made under former US President Barack Obama in December 2015, which was then valued at $1.83bn. The package included two navy frigates, anti-tank missiles and amphibious attack vehicles.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is elated about the deal and has said that her administration will continue "to seek constructive dialogue with Beijing, and promote positive developments in cross-strait relations."
"[The arms sale] increases Taiwan's confidence and ability to maintain the status quo of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," the president's office said on Twitter.
Earlier in May, Tsai said her government's top priority was to buy more arms from the US.
Touting benefits to its ally, Taipei had earlier said that its military purchases have "boosted the local economy of and employment" in at least six US states - Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Utah, Ohio and Pennsylvania.