Taiwan President Meets With Students and Faculty

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York

China's foreign ministry urged the U.S. on Tuesday to immediately withdraw the proposed sales and said it had lodged "stern representations".

China's foreign minister says the United States should not "play with fire" regarding Taiwan after the USA announced its intention to sell $2.2 billion in weapons to the island state.

Taiwanese media broadcast footage of the clashes outside the Grand Hyatt, where Tsai is staying during her stopover.

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

Taiwan doesn't have diplomatic ties with the US, though Washington provides Taiwan, which split from China in a 1949 civil war, with military and other support. This was Tsai's first trip as president to NY.

Tsai told a group of permanent United Nations representatives in NY on Thursday that the island, which is still formally governed as the Republic of China established in 1911 with the fall of the Qing Dynasty (1688-1911), would never give in to Beijing's claim that it is an "inalienable part of Chinese territory", nor give up its bid to join the United Nations.

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

Yet Washington remains its most powerful unofficial ally and biggest arms supplier.

"Taiwan will not give in to intimidation", she said, referring to China's efforts to suppress Taiwan.

In response, China urged the U.S. to "abide by the "One China" principle" and asked the USA to "not allow Tsai Ing-wen's stopover, cease official exchanges with Taiwan and refrain from providing any platform for separatist Taiwan independence forces".

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With the USA engaged in a trade war with China, relations between Taipei and Washington have warmed considerably.

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

On Monday, the US State Department approved the sale of M1A2T Abrams tanks, Stinger missiles and related military equipment to Taiwan at an estimated value of $2.2 billion.

Tsai dismissed Chinese criticism of both her visit and the arms deal.

Tsai is spending two days in NY ahead of a visit to diplomatic allies in the Caribbean. "Any obstacles will only strengthen Taiwan's resolution to join the worldwide community".

The tanks represent a significant upgrade to Taiwan's ageing fleet.

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

After her U.S. trip, Ms Tsai will visit Haiti, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia as well as St Christopher and Nevis, in a bid to shore up support for Taiwan.

Chinese Culture University professor Pang Chien-kuo said it was too early to say whether Tsai's US trip would pay diplomatic dividends, but that Taiwan had to keep trying.

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

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