Monday, 14 October, 2019

China to sanction USA firms over Taiwan arms sales

People demonstrate outside Grand Hyatt hotel where Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen is supposed to stay during her visit to the US in New York City US visit risks Beijing’s fury for President of Taiwan
Patty Aguilar | 13 July, 2019, 19:22

"Taiwan will not succumb to intimidation", her office said in a statement released as the USA visit kicked off, without specifically mentioning China.

China said Friday that the US should not allow an ongoing visit by Taiwan's president to NY and that it would impose sanctions on American companies that sell arms to the self-governing island as part of an expected $2.2 billion deal.

Taiwanese media broadcast footage of the clashes outside the Grand Hyatt, where Tsai is staying during her two-day United States trip.

The New York Police Department was not immediately able to comment on whether there had been any arrests.

Though diplomatic relations are strained over a number of issues, China's sanctions threat is indicative of a "broad downward trend", and not necessarily a significant "downturn in bilateral relations", said Roy Kamphausen, senior vice president for research at the US-based National Bureau of Asian Research.

On Friday, Chinese state-backed media voiced the Communist Party's fury over the U.S.' latest expression of support for Taipei's independence, in a move that Beijing suggested contravenes accepted diplomatic and legal norms.

Yet Washington remains its most powerful unofficial ally and biggest arms supplier.

She has rejected Chinese pressure to reunite Taiwan and China under the "one-country, two-systems" framework that governs Hong Kong.

It bristles at any countries that might lend Taiwan diplomatic support or legitimacy.

"We urge the U.S.to fully recognize the gravity of the Taiwan question".

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With the United States now engaged in a trade war with China, relations between Taipei and Washington have warmed considerably.

President Tsai Ing-wen is in NY on a two-night "transit" stop en route to an official visit to four Caribbean nations.

Unlike the last three American presidents, who were wary of angering Beijing, Donald Trump has ramped up relations with Taiwan.

The Trump administration announced the proposed $2.2 billion sale, which would include 108 Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles, earlier in the week.

The State Department has dismissed Chinese protests over the arms sale. "Any obstacles will only strengthen Taiwan's resolution to join the worldwide community". Taiwan is not a United Nations member and has no representatives, but 17 countries in the world body continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Tsai was yesterday scheduled to attend a business forum and is today to meet students before heading to the Caribbean. Tsai will be visiting St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Haiti on her overseas tour.

President Tsai Ing-wen participated in a discussion at Columbia University on July 12.

Haiti has vowed to maintain ties with Taipei despite neighbouring Dominican Republic establishing relations with China a year ago.

It is not the first time that Beijing has threatened sanctions following a planned U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.

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