Female soldiers of an artillery unit take part in the live fire Han Kuang military exercise, which simulates China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invading the island, in Pingtung, Taiwan, May 30, 2019. © Reuters / Tyrone Siu
Beijing has warned that the US State Department’s approval of a potential $1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan would have “a major impact’ on China-US relations, while Taipei says it’s not seeking an arms race with the Chinese.

China will issue a necessary response as the situation develops, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Thursday.

Taiwanese Defense Minister Yen De-fa said earlier in the day that Taipei will not seek an arms race with China, and only needs a defensive combat capability.

Yen thanked the US for the new weaponry that potentially includes sensors, missiles and artillery. The arms could help Taiwan deal with the “enemy threat and new situation,” the minister said, but reiterated that it is not looking for confrontation with Beijing.

We will not engage in an arms race with the Chinese communists. We will put forward requirements and build fully in accordance with the strategic concept of heavy deterrence, defending our position and defensive needs.

The modernization of its armed forces, which centers on the development of asymmetrical warfare, remains a priority for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

The ‘asymmetrical’ missile program focuses on the use of non-traditional weapons against a more powerful potential adversary in case of a cross-strait conflict.

The Pentagon said on Wednesday that the US State Department has approved the potential sale of three weapons systems to Taiwan. They include missiles and artillery, with a total value of $1.8 billion.

The formal notifications sent to Congress concern a truck-based rocket launcher, long-range air-to-ground missiles, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets. They could be followed by notifications for drones and land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

Beijing strongly opposes any US arms sales to Taiwan, saying they violate the One-China principle and destabilize the situation in the region.

The state-run Global Times daily wrote last month that the Chinese mainland loves peace, but is ready for all scenarios regarding the island’s “secessionist authorities”.