US-Taiwan weapons sales upsets China

Last Updated: Saturday, January 30, 2010 - 09:17

Zeenews Bureau

Washington: China has raised objections to a US’ plan to sell USD 6.4 billion worth of weapons to Taiwan, warning it would lead to a "serious damage" to ties and co-operation between the two nations.

The sale "constitutes a gross intervention into China`s internal affairs, seriously endangers China`s national security and harms China`s peaceful reunification efforts," Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, quoted He Yafei, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, as saying.

"The US plan will definitely undermine China-US relations and bring about serious negative impact on exchange and co-operation in major areas between the two countries," the spokesman added.

The spokesman further said that Beijing has already sent an urgent petition regarding the issue to the US early Saturday morning.

China’s reaction came a day after the Obama administration informed the US Congress of a proposal to sell up to USD 6.4 billion in weapons to Taiwan.

The package includes 60 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, 12 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and land attack missiles, 114 Patriot missile-defence systems, two mine hunting ships, and related equipment and communications and information technology, the Pentagon said.

Past US arms sales to Taiwan have also angered China, which regard the island as a rogue province and has threatened to retake it by force. Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, Washington is required to support Taiwan in its defence. The law coincided with the US’ decision to recognise China and switch diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing.

"This is a clear demonstration of the commitment that this administration has to provide Taiwan the defensive weapons it needs," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said.

The potential sale is consistent with the US’ one-China policy and contributes to maintaining security and stability across the Taiwan Strait, Crowley said.

The announcement comes at a sensitive time in US-Chinese relations, as the two sides remain divided over trade issues, currency policies and human rights. But the US’ support for Taiwan has been historically the most contentious issue in relations.

China temporarily cut off military ties with the US’ after former president George W Bush`s administration put forth a similar package. Those ties were later restored.

Taiwan has not yet accepted the offer. But the US’ law requires the administration to inform Congress of any sales to Taiwan. The proposal did not include F-16 fighter jets Taiwan has requested.

(With IANS inputs)

First Published: Saturday, January 30, 2010 - 09:17
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