TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China accused the United States of turning Taiwan into an “ammunition depot” after the White House announced a $345 million military aid package for Taipei, and the self-ruled island said Sunday it tracked six Chinese navy ships in waters off its shores.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office issued a statement late Saturday opposing the military aid to Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.
“No matter how much of the ordinary people’s taxpayer money the … Taiwanese separatist forces spend, no matter how many U.S. weapons, it will not shake our resolve to solve the Taiwan problem. Or shake our firm will to realize the reunification of our motherland,” said Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office.
“Their actions are turning Taiwan into a powder keg and ammunition depot, aggravating the threat of war in the Taiwan Strait,” the statement said.
China’s People’s Liberation Army has increased its military maneuvers in recent years aimed at Taiwan, sending fighter jets and warships to circle the island.
On Sunday, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said it tracked six Chinese navy ships near the island.
Taiwan’s ruling administration, led by the Democratic Progressive Party, has stepped up its weapons purchases from the U.S. as part of a deterrence strategy against a Chinese invasion.
China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949, and Taiwan has never been governed by China’s ruling Communist Party.
Unlike previous military purchases, the latest batch of aid is part of a presidential authority approved by the U.S. Congress last year to draw weapons from current U.S. military stockpiles — so Taiwan will not have to wait for military production and sales.
While Taiwan has purchased $19 billion worth of weaponry, much of it has yet to be delivered to Taiwan. Washington will send man-portable air defense systems, intelligence and surveillance capabilities, firearms and missiles to Taiwan.