China says ready to ‘smash’ Taiwan self-rule as US prepares major arms package, sends advisers

BEIJING (AP) — China’s military says it is prepared to “resolutely smash any form of Taiwan independence” as the U.S. prepares to accelerate the sale of defensive weapons to the self-governing island democracy. Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Tan Kefei says a recent increase in exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries is an “extremely wrong and dangerous move.” Tan says China’s People’s Liberation Army “continues to strengthen military training and preparations” to counter pro-independence forces and outside interference, a reference to Taiwan’s closest ally, the United States. China claims the island of 23 million people as its own territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.