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Friday, March 11, 2016, 17:21

Beijing protests US' frigate sale to Taiwan

By Agencies

Beijing protests US' frigate sale to Taiwan
Taiwanese sailors are seen on the ROCS Lan Yang (FFG-935), a US-made Knox-class frigate that formerly served in the US Navy as the USS Joseph Hewes and transferred to China's Taiwan in 1999, at the naval base in northern Keelung on Dec 17, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh)

BEIJING/WASHINGTON - The Chinese mainland lodged a protest Friday after the US State Department said it had authorized the sale of two surplus US Navy frigates to Taiwan for US$190 million, subject to congressional approval.

US arms sales to China's Taiwan always attract strong opposition from Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed the mainland had lodged a protest with the United States.

"The Chinese side has launched representations with the US State Department demanding the US side give a full account," Hong told a daily news briefing.

"The US has said that right now it has no plans to sell weapons to Taiwan and has not issued any statements. China's position on US arms sales to Taiwan is consistent, clear, and firm," he added.

Taiwan's "defense ministry" said the sale was part of a deal reached last year.

"The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region," the State Department said in a statement. (http://bit.ly/1QrqaYJ)

Last week, President Xi Jinping said the mainland would never allow the historical tragedy of Taiwan being "split" from the rest of the country to happen again, warning the island against any moves towards formal independence.

Japan ruled Taiwan as a colony for about five decades until the end of World War Two.

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