China warned yesterday that it was ready for war if there was any move toward Taiwan’s independence, accusing the United States of undermining global stability and denouncing its arms sales to the self-ruled island.
The Pentagon said this month the U.S. State Department had approved sales of weapons requested by Taiwan, including tanks and Stinger missiles estimated to be worth $2.2 billion.
China responded by saying it would impose sanctions on U.S. firms involved in any deals.
Defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a news briefing on a defense white paper, the first like it in several years to outline the military’s strategic concerns, that China would make its greatest effort for peaceful reunification with Taiwan.
“However, we must firmly point out that seeking Taiwan independence is a dead end,” Wu said.
“If there are people who dare to try to split Taiwan from the country, China’s military will be ready to go to war to firmly safeguard national sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity,” he said.
The United States is the main arms supplier to Taiwan, which China deems a wayward province. Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control. The United States has no formal ties with democratic Taiwan, but is bound by law to help provide it with the means to defend itself. The Chinese ministry said the United States had “provoked intensified competition among major countries, significantly increased its defense expenditure … and undermined global strategic stability.”