China threatens to sanction United States over $2.8 billion arms deal with Taiwan

People engage in scuffles outside Grand Hyatt hotel where Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen is supposed to stay during her visit to the US

Taiwanese media broadcast footage of the clashes outside the Grand Hyatt, where Tsai is staying during her stopover. China has been especially concerned that Taiwan may purchase new fighter jets from the USA, but no such weapons are included in this sale.

The New York Police Department was not immediately able to comment on whether there had been any arrests.

President Tsai Ing-wen is in NY on a two-night "transit" stop en route to an official visit to four Caribbean nations.

Normally the head of a state passing through American soil would not spark controversy but Taiwan has long found itself in a precarious and unusual diplomatic situation.

The U.S., which recognized Beijing as the government of China in 1979, does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but U.S. law requires that it provide Taiwan with sufficient defense equipment and services for self-defense.

In a speech at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in New York, Tsai addressed the representatives to the UN from the 17 countries that recognize Taiwan as a country, saying that she hoped they would continue to support the nation's efforts to gain access to the UN.

It bristles at any countries that might lend Taiwan diplomatic support or legitimacy.

China said on Friday it would impose sanctions on USA firms involved in the deal, saying it harmed China's sovereignty and national security.

China has objected to her US visit, which Taiwan calls a "two-evening transit stop" on the way to Haiti and three other Caribbean nations that recognize Taiwan.

Earlier, China accused the USA of "unilateral bullying" against Iran and blamed Washington for the potential breakdown of the 2015 nuclear deal.

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Unlike the last three American presidents, who were wary of angering Beijing, Donald Trump has ramped up relations with Taiwan.

On Monday, the US State Department announced the $2.2bn potential arms sale to Taiwan, which includes 108 Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles.

Spokesperson Geng Shuang. File photo: Ruptly, via YouTube screenshot.

"The US arms sale to Taiwan has severely violated the basic norms of worldwide law and global relations", said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang in an online statement. "Any obstacles will only strengthen Taiwan's resolution to join the global community".

Tsai said Taiwan may be standing on the front lines of democracy against new threats unique to the information age, such as infiltration and cognitive warfare, that are challenges facing each country today regardless of their size.

Tsai was yesterday scheduled to attend a business forum and is today to meet students before heading to the Caribbean.

She is visiting Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia on a 12-day trip.

China has poached five of Taipei's dwindling number of allies since Tsai became president in 2016.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in San Francisco in 2017.

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