China’s state media said today Beijing’s response to potential US fighter jet sales to Taiwan must be its “most intense yet”, just a day after the government sought to dispel fears over its military build-up.
In strongly-worded comment pieces, official media also said Washington should be “fully aware of the damages” of arms sales to Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing considers part of its territory.
“If the United States sells Taiwan new F-16s, China’s reaction must be the most intense yet,” the nationalistic Global Times newspaper — which has a circulation of 1.5 million — said in its Chinese-language version.
The commentary was not published in the paper’s English edition.
Taiwan has been a constant irritant in Sino-US ties, especially since 2010, when Washington sold $6.4 billion in arms to the island that Beijing wants back, by force if necessary.
But US magazine Defense News reported last month that Washington had told Taiwan it would not sell the jets, although US and Taiwanese officials still insist no decision has been made.
China’s People’s Daily newspaper — the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party — also warned Thursday of the consequences of the arms sale.
The state media comments come just one day after China released a white paper on its peaceful development plans, saying it would avoid “invasion, expansion or war” — although not at the expense of its claims on Taiwan.
Washington and China’s neighbors have expressed rising concerns over its armed forces build-up, growing military spending and territorial assertiveness, such as Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea.