Britain approved a sharp increase in exports of submarine parts and technology last year to Taiwan as it upgrades its naval forces, a move that could impact British ties with China.
The value of licences granted by the British government to companies for the export of submarine-related components and technology to Taiwan totalled a record 167 million pounds ($201.29 million) during the first nine months of last year, according to UK government export licensing data. That is more than the previous six years combined, a Reuters analysis of the data showed.
The data is publicly accessible but the most recent Taiwan-related figures haven’t previously been reported.
Beijing considers Taiwan part of China, known as the One-China policy, and strongly objects to perceived foreign interference with the island believing it to be support for Taiwan’s desire to be recognised as its own country.
When presented with the figures by Reuters, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement: “If this is true, it is a serious violation of the one-China principle, undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests, and undermines peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
“China is highly concerned about this and firmly opposes it,” said the written statement, which urged Britain to “refrain from providing military support to the Taiwan authorities.”