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China Says U.S. Arms Sales To Taiwan Hurt National Security

January 31, 2010

China has escalated the rhetoric in a dispute over planned U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, saying the move would damaged its national security.

The remark was made by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, in a statement read on state broadcaster CCTV.

"The United States' misdeed has seriously violated agreements with China, especially the August 17 communique. The U.S had crudely intervened with China's internal affairs and damaged China's national security and great task of reunification and it is against a U.S pledge to support the peaceful cross-strait development.

The broadcaster added that Yang "stressed that the United States should truly respect China's core interests and major concerns, and immediately rescind the mistaken decision to sell arms to Taiwan, and stop selling arms to Taiwan in order to avoid damaging broader China-U.S. relations."

Yang was the latest and most senior official to denounce the arms-sale plan, worth about $6.4 billion.

As required by law, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency on January 29 notified Congress of the new arms-sale package, which forms part of a package first pledged by the Bush administration.

According to the AP news agency reported that U.S. lawmakers have 30 days to comment on the proposed sale. If there are no objections, it would proceed.

Delicate Balance

The new arms package includes 60 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, two mine-hunting ships, 114 Patriot missile-defense systems, 12 Harpoon antiship missiles and land-attack missiles, and related equipment and communications and information technology.

It does not include, however, the submarines and F-16 fighter jets that Taipei had asked for.

Beijing reacted angrily, saying it would suspend military exchanges with the United States, review cooperation on major issues, and impose unspecified sanctions on the private companies involved in the Taiwan sales unless Washington canceled the new arms package.

But U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley defended the sale plan as necessary to boost regional stability:

"This is a clear demonstration of the commitment that this administration has to provide Taiwan the defensive weapons it needs, and as provided for in the Taiwan Relations Act," Crowley said.

He added that "this action is consistent with the U.S. one-China policy, based on three joint communiques on the Taiwan Relations Act, and contributes to maintaining security and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

Taiwan welcomed the U.S. move, with President Ma Ying-jeou saying it would let Taiwan feel more confident and secure.

The United States, which has a treaty obligation to provide Taiwan with defensive arms, is the leading arms supplier to the island.

China has for years opposed U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway province. Since 1949, when Nationalist forces fled to the island after losing the mainland to the Communists, Beijing has threatened to use force to bring it under its control if Taiwan moved toward formal independence.

The China-U.S. rift comes after the two countries' leaders pledged to improve defense ties in 2009 and amid improving economic cooperation between Beijing and Taipei.

Although they cooperate on counterterrorism, nuclear arms control, and other issues, Beijing and Washington remain at odds over trade, China's tight control of its currency, policies in Tibet, and Internet censorship.

compiled from agency reports

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/China_Steps_Up_Criticism_Of_US_Arms_Sales_To_Taiwan/1944235.html

Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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