Beijing has condemned an annual US defence spending bill for hyping up the “China threat”, but Taiwan welcomed the legislation, saying it demonstrated US support for the self-governing island that China says must come under its rule.
“China deplores and firmly opposes this US move,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted online on Saturday, calling the new law a serious political provocation that blatantly interferes in China’s internal affairs.
President Joe Biden signed the 858 billion dollar (£712 billion) defence bill into law in Washington on Friday. It includes about 45 billion dollars (£37 billion) more than he had requested as legislators look to offset inflation and boost the nation’s military competitiveness with China and Russia.
The bill also repealed a Covid-19 vaccination requirement for US troops.
In the Indo-Pacific region, the legislation authorises increased security co-operation with Taiwan and requires expanded co-operation with India on emerging defence technologies, readiness and logistics.
A Taiwan Foreign Ministry statement thanked the US Congress “for showing the great importance it attaches to Taiwan-US relations and strengthening Taiwan’s security”.
China objects to US support for Taiwan, an island of 23 million people off its east coast. The two split during the civil war that brought the communists to power in China in 1949.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said the US defence bill “severely affects peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
China staged major military exercises around Taiwan in August after US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island.
The Chinese military sent 39 planes and three ships toward Taiwan earlier this week in a relatively large show of force.