Solomons' vote on Taiwan or China 'far away'

23 Août, 2019, 01:29 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Taiwan already has a fleet of old-model F-16s purchased in 1992 which have undergone several upgrades

The U.S. State Department approved the sale of 66 F-16 fighters to Taiwan on Tuesday.

Beijing has urged Washington to cancel the sale of American F-16 fighter planes to Taiwan, vowing sanctions against United States companies that take part in the deal in order "to protect [China's] interests". He did not elaborate on what additional measures China might take.

On Monday, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry had criticized USA arms deliveries to Taiwan as a "serious violation" of agreements between Beijing and Washington and as "serious interference in China's internal affairs".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang urged the USA to stop the arms sales and end military contact with Taiwan.

China views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary. The sale "is a serious USA interference in our internal affairs and undermines our sovereignty and security interests", he said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that President Donald Trump has approved the sale as well. The U.S.is also installing upgraded electronics, including AESA radars, on Taiwan's existing fleet of 144 older F-16s.

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Despite a lack of formal diplomatic ties, USA law requires Washington to ensure Taiwan has the means to defend itself.

Taiwan is self-governing, and has had de facto independence from China since 1949.

Beijing's military is much larger and more advanced, with a missile arsenal that could likely wipe out the island's air strips in the event of any conflict across the Taiwan Strait.

Pompeo also said that the sale was "consistent with past U.S. policy" and that the United States was "simply following through on the commitments we've made to all of the parties". "These fighters are critical to improving Taiwan's ability to defend its sovereign airspace, which is under increasing pressure from the People's Republic of China", Reuters quoted Risch as saying.

"Aiming at safeguarding national unity, China's armed forces strengthen military preparedness with emphasis on the sea", the report said.

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