BEIJING (AP) — China blasted an annual U.S. defense spending bill for hyping up the “China threat” while Taiwan welcomed the legislation, saying it demonstrated U.S. support for the self-governing island that China says must come under its rule.
“China deplores and firmly opposes this U.S. move,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted online Saturday, calling the new law a serious political provocation that blatantly interferes in China’s internal affairs.
President Joe Biden signed the $858 billion defense bill into law in Washington on Friday. It includes about $45 billion more than Biden had requested as lawmakers 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The bill also repealed a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for U.S. troops.
In the Indo-Pacific region, the legislation authorizes increased security cooperation with Taiwan and requires expanded cooperation with India on emerging defense technologies, readiness and logistics.
A Taiwan Foreign Ministry statement thanked the U.S. Congress “for showing the great importance it attaches to Taiwan-U.S. relations and strengthening Taiwan’s security.”
China objects to U.S. 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 U.S. defense bill “severely affects peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
China staged major military exercises around Taiwan in August after U.S. House 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.