The United States will sell anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles, surface-to-air missiles and two guided-missile frigates, among other equipment, to Taiwan under a $1.83 billion arms deal.
The Obama administration notified Congress of the deal on Wednesday, drawing immediate condemnation from China, which summoned the U.S. charge d'affaires in Beijing and warned of sanctions against the firms involved in the sale.
The US assured that it will continue with the 'one China' policy, but said that the arms deal was under the Taiwan Relations Act and meant to boost Taiwan's 'defence capabilities'.
The Obama government had made a similar $5.3 billion-deal with Taiwan in 2011.
China's Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang issued a formal protest to US diplomat Kaye Lee on Wednesday, stating that the arms sale threatened China's security interests.
"Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. China strongly opposes the U.S. arms sale to Taiwan," Zheng said, according to Xinhua.
"To safeguard our national interests, China has decided to take necessary measures, including imposing sanctions against the companies involved in the arms sale," he added.
The sanctions will fall on US companies Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, the main contractors which will sell Javelin anti-tank missiles, TOW 2B anti-tank missiles and Stinger surface-to-air missiles to Taiwan, according to Reuters.
Ahead of Wedensday's notification to the US Congress, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei had called on the US to stop the arms deal on Tuesday.
"The United States should be fully aware that the arms sale to Taiwan is highly sensitive and dangerous. The US should abide by its commitment and stop arms sale to Taiwan, and do something more conducive for China-US relations and the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relations," he had said.