Arms sales to Taiwan hamper military exchanges

Updated: 2011-09-22 16:38


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BEIJING - China on Thursday said the latest US arms sales to Taiwan created "severe obstacles" for the two countries' normal military-to-military exchanges.

"Rather than working with China to consolidate and expand the positive growth of bilateral military ties, the United States again announced its plan to sell arms to Taiwan, which will create severe obstacles for normal military-to-military exchanges," spokesman Geng Yansheng said on Thursday.

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Geng's comments came after the US government on Wednesday notified Congress of its latest decision to sell $5.85 billion of arms to Taiwan, including an upgrade of Taiwan's 145 F-16A/B fighter jets.

The package also involves F-16A/B fighter jets training and logistics as well as spare parts for F-16A/Bs and other aircraft such as IDF fighters, F-5E/F fighters and C-130H cargo planes.

The fresh arms sale announcement is 20 months away from the Pentagon's decision in January 2010 to sell a nearly 6.4-billion-US-dollar arms package to Taiwan, an inalienable part of China.

After the last sale, China cut off some military exchange programs with the United States.

"In recent years, China-US military relations have never broken the vicious circle of 'development-stagnation-redevelopment-restagnation," Geng said, attributing it to US moves to sell arms to Taiwan regardless of China's repeated resolute opposition.

Starting from 2011, China-US military relations have warmed with multi-field exchanges and cooperation, Geng said.

As a sign of the warming of ties, senior US defense leaders, including former US defense secretary Robert Gates and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen visited China this year while Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army of China Chen Bingde travelled to the United States in May.

"Reality has proved that the United States should be held fully accountable for damaging China-US military relations," Geng said.

Stressing the Taiwan issue concerns China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and core interest, Geng said Chinese military's position on safeguarding state sovereignty and territorial integrity is resolute and clear.

He said US' incorrect decision to sell arms to Taiwan will unavoidably undermine China-US military relations.

"We strongly urge the US side to take immediate and effective measures to remove the negative impacts and respect China's core interest and honor its solemn commitment on Taiwan issue by practical actions," Geng said.

He called on the United States to put an end to arms sale to Taiwan and cut its military links with Taiwan in order to avoid the further damage to China-US military ties.

Geng said the wrongdoing by the US side severely violates the three Sino-US joint communiques, in particular the principles enshrined in the August 17 Communique, and goes against the important consensus by the heads of the two states on jointly building a China-US partnership that will feature mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

The United States agreed to gradually reduce its arms sales to Taiwan, according to the "August 17 Communique" signed in 1982.

Geng added that the arms sale package severely undermines the positive momentum of peaceful development in cross-Strait relations.

Guan Youfei, deputy chief of China's Defense Ministry's foreign affairs office was instructed on Thursday morning to summon the acting US military attache to China and lodge strong protest over a new round of US arms sales to Taiwan.

The vehement reaction came not only from the Chinese military, but also the diplomatic and public circles.

Later Wednesday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun was instructed to summon the US Ambassador to China Gary Locke and lodge strong protest to the US side.

Chinese ambassador to the United States Zhang Yesui also lodged strong protest on behalf of the Chinese government in Washington.

"Uncle Sam will eventually pay bigger price for the current interest it has gained by eating his words," a blogger, wdgq1985, posted on the popular news site