China to impose sanctions on USA firms

US visit risks Beijing’s fury for President of Taiwan

China will sanction United States companies that sell arms to Taiwan, after Washington approved possible sales of $US2.2 billion ($2.8 billion) in tanks, missiles and related equipment, its foreign ministry says. They were requested by Taiwan earlier in 2019 in order to bolster its defences - "in the face of pressure" from China.

China's foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said the United States arms sale constituted "a serious violation of global law and the basic norms governing worldwide relations".

"We urge the US.to not let Tsai Ing-wen pass through its territory", he said, adding that the US should not provide a platform for "Taiwan independence separatist forces".

"Taiwan will not succumb to intimidation", the Presidential Office said in a statement released as Tsai's visit began, without specifically mentioning China.

China claims self-ruled and democratic Taiwan as its own and views it as a wayward province.

The Chinese government has never renounced the use of force as an option for achieving reunification.

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Speaking at Taipei's main global airport at Taoyuan, Ms Tsai said she would share the values of freedom and transparency with Taiwan's allies, and she was looking forward to finding more worldwide space for Taiwan.

China's latest statement came as Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, was in NY en route to visit four Caribbean allies, a trip that has also incensed China.

The planned weapons sale, the first transfer of big-ticket United States military gear to democratically-governed Taiwan in decades, comes as ties between Washington and Beijing are already strained by their trade war.

"We urge the USA to abide by the "one China" principle and ... not allow Tsai Ing-wen's stopover, cease official exchanges with Taiwan and refrain from providing any platform for separatist Taiwan independence forces", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing.

Tsai was last in the United States in March, but her transit stops this time will be unusually long and analysts said the extended stopovers, in which she will spend four nights on U.S. soil, emphasized the Trump administration's support for her at a time when she has been under increasing pressure from Beijing.

"Our democracy has not come easily and is now facing threats and infiltration from overseas forces", Tsai said, without being specific. But our "one China" policy remains the same.

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