China has called on France to cancel a weapons contract with Taiwan , warning that the deal with the self-ruled island could harm diplomatic relations between Beijing and Paris. “We stand against foreign arms sales to Taiwan or having military and security exchanges with the island, and this stance is consistent and clear,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said. “China has expressed grave concerns to France. We once again urge France to abide by the one-China principle, cancel its plan to sell arms to Taiwan, and avoid damaging Sino-French relations.” The one-China principle is a policy advocated by Beijing stating that there is only one sovereign state under the name of China and both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan – whose official name remains the Republic of China – belong to one country. According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence, the island plans to upgrade the missile interference systems of the six French-built La Fayette frigates it bought about 30 years ago, which plunged ties between China and France to a historic low. The defence ministry said it had earmarked US$27.8 million for the acquisition of Dagaie Mk 2 decoy launcher upgrade kits and ammunition from France. Beijing’s protest over the planned sale is among the latest moves by China to contain the island’s international space. WHO put nations at risk by excluding Taiwan from coronavirus debate: US report Taiwan has been widely praised for its success in containing the coronavirus outbreak and has received support for its wish to take part in the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) decision-making body. But that has irked Beijing , which vetoes Taiwan joining the WHO because it says the island is part of China and therefore has no right to join international bodies. Beijing has also protested over military relations between Taiwan and other nations. France sold the six frigates to Taiwan for US$2.8 billion in 1991, causing a freeze in diplomatic relations between Paris and Beijing. Taiwanese support closer ties with the US over China, survey finds Since the 2016 election of Tsai Ing-wen , from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, as the Taiwanese president, Beijing has tried to squeeze Taiwan by stopping official exchanges with the island, staging war games around it and poaching seven of its diplomatic allies. Beijing considers the democratic Taiwan to be a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the two have been ruled separately for more than seven decades.