China Is Not Happy With U.S. Over Defense Bill Backing Taiwan Military Training

Taiwan Coast Guard patrol ships and helicopters from National Airborne Service Corps are seen during a drill held about four nautical miles out of the port of Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, June 6, 2015. Pichi Chuang/Reuters

China says it has taken up a “stern” complaint with the United States after the House of Representatives passed a bill that expands communications with Taiwan. The National Defense Authorization Act was passed on Friday and increases “defense cooperation” with Taiwan by expanding military training and exercises, much to the ire of China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory.

China’s negative reaction to the $696 billion defense policy bill comes just a month after it criticized the U.S. for selling self-ruled Taiwan $1.42 billion in arms, in what China called a “wrong decision,” Reuters reported. The U.S. is the main provider of arms to Taiwan.

The House passed the bill 344 to 81, with the support of 117 Democrats and nearly every Republican. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved similar legislation last month, but the full Senate has not voted on the bill.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told Reuters of the bill on Monday: “China has already lodged stern representations with the United States about this.” He added: “We urge the United States to fully recognize the serious harmfulness of the relevant clauses in the act, and should not allow then into law, and not turn back the wheel of history to avoid damaging the broad picture of Sino-U.S. cooperation.”

Kang said China was opposed to any official contact between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries.

The decision of the U.S. House to pass the bill on Friday came a day after Taiwan reported China’s warplanes flying close to its air space on Thursday, a complaint that had also been filed by Japan on the same day. The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said the bombers flew just outside its air defense identification zone, but emphasized that it had "closely followed" them as they passed, The Financial Times reported.