China warned Thursday that US military aid to Taiwan harmed the island’s “security”, after Washington approved direct military assistance to Taipei under a programme aimed at foreign governments for the first time.
“US military aid and sales to Taiwan only nourish the US military-industrial complex while harming the security and well-being of Taiwan compatriots,” Wu Qian, a spokesperson for Beijing’s defence ministry, told a briefing.
President Joe Biden’s administration has for the first time approved direct US military aid to Taiwan.
The State Department informed Congress on Tuesday of the $80 million package, which is small compared with recent sales to Taiwan but marks the first assistance to Taipei under the Foreign Military Financing program, which generally involves grants or loans to sovereign countries.
For five decades, the United States has officially recognized only Beijing although Congress, under the Taiwan Relations Act, requires the supply of weapons to the self-governing democracy for its defense.
Successive US administrations have done so through sales rather than direct aid to Taiwan, with formal statements speaking in the tone of business transactions with the island’s de-facto embassy in Washington.
The State Department insisted that the first-ever aid under the program did not imply any recognition of Taiwan sovereignty.