US vows more arms for Taiwan after Tsai meeting, sparks China backlash

(Update 1: Adds China maritime maneuvers, changes slug, date, adds details, minor edits)

Beijing/Los Angeles, Apr 6 (EFE).- United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stressed the urgency of arms sales to Taipei after meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in Los Angeles, sparking backlash from China.

“We must continue the arms sales to Taiwan and make sure such sales reach Taiwan on a very timely basis,” McCarthy said on Wednesday local time at a press conference.

Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and McCarthy said that some sales have been delayed, and the pair also discussed how to speed up the process.

“Second, we must strengthen our economic cooperation, particularly with trade and technology. Third, we must continue to promote our shared values on the world stage,” he added.

Tsai is in the US as part of a trip to Central America and in which she also passed through New York.

Beijing immediately condemned the meeting on Thursday local time, with its foreign ministry saying in a statement that “China firmly opposes and strongly condemns the acts.”

“In response to the seriously erroneous acts of collusion between the United States and Taiwan, China will take resolute and effective measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it added.

A China defense ministry spokesman said in a statement that the US “must stop its blatant interference in China’s internal affairs.”

“We firmly oppose all forms of official interaction between the United States and Taiwan and any visit by leader of the Taiwan authorities to the United States in any name or under whatever pretext,” it said, according to state media Xinhua.

“The US side must stop its blatant interference in China’s internal affairs, and stop its official interaction with Taiwan.”

McCarthy said that “tensions in the world are at this highest point since the end of the Cold War” but “it is not our intention to escalate (tensions with China). We want to continue to build and foster democracy and freedom.”

History has reflected the importance of “supply(ing) the weapons and people can defend themselves,” he said. “It is a critical lesson that we learned through Ukraine.”

The Republican leader stressed that the support of the US for Taiwan will remain unwavering and bipartisan and he appeared at the press conference backed by Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including Pete Aguilar, the Democrats’ number three in the Lower House.

“In matters of foreign policy… it is important to set aside partisanship and to work together to promote our common interests and the interests of the free world,” said Aguilar.

“We welcome competition with the People’s Republic of China, but do not seek conflict,” he added.

In an earlier appearance with McCarthy, Tsai thanked Washington for its support, saying it shows Taiwan that “we are not isolated, we are not alone,”

“We once again find ourselves in a world where democracy is under threat. And the urgency of keeping the beacon of freedom shining cannot be understated,” she said.

Tsai also stressed that “to preserve peace, we must be strong.”

“We are stronger when we are together,” she said.

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