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US arms sales turning Taiwan into a powder keg, China warns

CHINA’S Defence Ministry warned the United States today to stop interfering in Taiwan and the South China Sea, saying that US arms sales to the breakaway Chinese island are making the situation more dangerous.

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party is “turning Taiwan into a weapons depot and a powder keg,” said Senior Colonel Wu Qian, the ministry’s top spokesman.

In less than two months, the island will hold a presidential election in which voters will choose between the ruling party, which favours strengthening Taiwan’s military and close ties to the US, and opposition parties that call for efforts to improve relations with China as the best way to reduce tensions.

“Taiwan’s security depends on the peaceful development of cross-strait relations instead of a few pieces of US-made weapons,” Col Wu said at a monthly news conference.

The island has been under a separate government from the rest of China since 1949, when the nationalist Kuomintang government retreated there following its military defeat by the communists on the mainland.

Beijing has never ceased uphold its claim to Taiwan and to seek its reunification with the rest of China.

Officially, the US government does not support formal independence for Taiwan, but it has helped the island to remain outside Beijing’s control.

“We request that the US side acts in accordance with its words and takes concrete steps to honour its commitment not to support Taiwan independence, stops arming Taiwan and stops undermining China’s core interest,” Col Wu said.

Some US legislators are calling for an increase in support in response to military exercises by China.

Col Wu also criticised Washington for supporting the Philippines in the latter’s territorial disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jnr has sought US assistance, including a recent joint patrol conducted by their militaries.


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