20:10 GMT +318 July 2019
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    Taiwanese soldiers operate the US-made M60-A3 tanks during a military exercise in Hualien, Taiwan (File)

    China Aims to Impose Sanctions on US Firms Selling Arms to Taiwan, Says Washington 'Plays With Fire'

    © AP Photo / Chiang Ying-ying
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    Beijing earlier expressed its anger over Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's visit to the United States on Thursday. The president’s arrival triggered protests in New York with Tsai’s opponent chanting slogans.

    China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has said in a statement that Beijing intends to impose sanctions on American companies selling arms to Taiwan.

    "The US arms sales to Taiwan constitute a serious violation of international law and the basic norms governing international relations. This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the three China-US Joint Communiques. It also undermines China's sovereignty and national security. To safeguard our national interests, China will impose sanctions on the US enterprises involved in the above-mentioned arms sales to Taiwan", Geng said, as quoted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website.

    The statement comes as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi issued a warning to Washington on Friday, saying that the United States should refrain from its dealings with Taiwan which he described as 'playing with fire'.

    In the course of his visit to Hungary, China's top diplomat underlined that no foreign power could prevent China's reunification with its breakaway province, nor should any force attempt to do so.

    Wang's comments come in response to a planned US weapons sale to Taipei. Last week, the US State Department authorised a $2.2 billion arms sale to the island nation, including anti-aircraft missiles and battle tanks. China, which considers Taiwan a rebel province, condemned the deal and demanded its cancellation.

    The foreign minister's warning also comes as Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited New York, prompting fury in Beijing.

    China and Taiwan severed relations in 1949. The two states resumed their business and informal ties years later and restored contact via non-governmental organisations.

    The United States, along with a number of other countries, recognises the One-China principle but continues to maintain unofficial ties with Taiwan.

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