China has lodged a protest with and made a diplomatic representation to the United States over the latter’s approval of arms sales to Taiwan, which China sees as its rebel province, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Geng Shuang, said on Tuesday.

“Sales of US weapons to Taiwan are a serious violation of international law and basic norms regulating international relations. This violates the ‘One-China’ policy and three joint US-Chinese communiques. This is also a serious interference in China’s domestic affairs, which damages its sovereignty and its security interests. We express protest over these actions”, Geng said at a briefing.

The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency announced on Monday that the US Department of State had signed off on a request by Taiwan to purchase over 100 M1A2T Abrams tanks and related equipment. The deal is valued at over $2 billion. Washington also agreed to sell to Taiwan 250 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles worth around $224 million.

Earlier this year, Taiwan asked to buy advanced weapons from Washington, which triggered a harsh reaction in Beijing

The United States, along with many other countries, does not recognise Taiwan as a sovereign nation and sticks to the “One China” policy.

Despite this, Washington has kept informal relations with Taiwan and has infuriated Beijing by approving arms sales to the island.

Taiwan is an island nation near the southern coast of China that has been governed independently from the mainland since 1949. Beijing views the island as its province, while Taiwan maintains that it is an autonomous state, having political and economic relations with several other countries.

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