U.S. approves 1st arms sale to Taiwan under Trump


US arms sales to Taiwan and sanctions against some Chinese entities and individuals undermine the mutual confidence between China and the United States, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said here Thursday.

The package includes technical support for early warning radar, high speed anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and missile components.

The timing of the US actions - just ahead of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Beijing on 1 July - was particularly provocative, experts in US-China relations said.

The last USA arms sales to Taiwan, worth US$1.83 billion, was authorized by the Obama administration in December 2015.

The ambassador added that the sale of arms to Taiwan "severely violated" the country's longstanding "one China'"policy".

It comes at a delicate time for relations between Washington and Beijing over efforts to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea. The sale will anger China, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory.

The move has upset Beijing, but the U.S. official emphasised that there is "no change to our long-standing "One China" policy", stating that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of it, which Beijing says is a prerequisite for maintaining relations.

"Today's notifications are consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, and our support for Taiwan's ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability", a U.S. official familiar with the sale told CNN.

China's President Xi Jinping and Donald Trump opening a new chapter at their first meeting on a crucial but sometimes fractious relationship-a joint pledge to work together on tough trade and geopolitical issues. Trump, personally, has been suggesting that China was working against a ticking clock on the North Korea issue.

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Trump became the first USA president or president-elect to speak with a Taiwanese leader in an official capacity since the United States severed ties with the island nation.

Relations between the two countries have crashed to an all time low after Beijing-skeptic President Tsai Ing-wen took power previous year.

Last month, a USA navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief reef in a contentious so-called freedom of navigation operation, the first such challenge since Trump took power.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a press briefing that Beijing has lodged a formal protest with Washington and urged the USA government to "uphold its solemn commitment to the One-China principle".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in Washington to discuss North Korea and trade.

"At least I know China tried!"

The US is the island's most powerful ally and arms supplier despite having no official relations with Taipei after switching recognition to Beijing in 1979.

China has filed "solemn representations" with the US on the matter and "stresses that no one can shake the Chinese government's determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity", he added.

Further sales from the U.S.to Taiwan could damage peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, where China has never renounced the use of force to control what it considers a wayward province.