China expressed anger on Saturday over a new U.S. defense authorization law that increases military aid to Taiwan, while Taipei applauded it for helping bolster the island’s security.
China, which considers Taiwan its own territory, expressed “strong dissatisfaction and determined opposition” to the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It states that the $858 billion military spending measure, which authorizes up to $10 billion in security aid and accelerated arms acquisition for Taiwan, contains provisions that “cause serious damage to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
China has never given up using force to subdue Taiwan. The island strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims and says only its 23 million people on the island can decide their future.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry expressed appreciation for the U.S. legislation, saying it showed the importance Washington attaches to Taiwan-U.S. ties and strengthening the island’s security.
Taipei will discuss the details of the law with Washington and “gradually push forward the formulation of the budget and the actual disbursement of the various pro-Taiwan provisions,” the ministry said, without elaborating.
The United States is Taiwan’s main international sponsor and arms supplier, despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties. U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are a constant irritant in Beijing’s relations with Washington.
Taiwan’s military is dwarfed by that of its neighbor, China. Its air force, in particular, has come under great pressure by having to intervene repeatedly to repel Chinese incursions near the island over the past three years.
The defense law contained an amendment restricting U.S. government purchases of products using computer chips made by a group of Chinese companies.
“The case ignores the facts to exaggerate a ‘Chinese threat,’ gratuitously interferes in China’s internal relations, and attacks and defames the Chinese Communist Party, which constitute serious political provocations to China,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.