There has been an angry public and media reaction in China to Washington’s announcement that it will sell weapons to Taiwan.
Monday editions of several state-run newspapers accuse the US of arrogance and hypocrisy in going through with the deal.
Beijing has threatened arms supplier Boeing with sanctions, a move that seems popular with the public.
On the streets of Beijing there were also calls for China to develop its own military.
Taiwan is buying Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and other equipment worth 4.5 billion euros. It says it needs to protect itself from China, which sees the island as a breakaway province. The US says it is obliged to support Taiwan’s defence capability by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.
According to one analyst in international relations, Jin Canrong of the People’s University of China, the issue is more a symbolic threat than a military one:
“There is no big military significance of the US selling weapons to Taiwan as China’s People’s Liberation Army would have no problem at all destroying them but the thing is the weapons sale just breaks legal principles,” says Jin.
China’s vociferous response reflects its increasing confidence on the world stage.
As well as imposing sanctions, it could also refuse to cooperate with the US on international issues such as its efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear programme.