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Arms sales in accordance with Taiwan Relations Act: spokesmen

ROC Central News Agency

08/10/08 14:20:54

By Chiehyu Lin and Deborah Kuo

Washington, Oct. 7 (CNA) In an attempt to defuse China's anger over its decision to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan, the United States insisted Tuesday that the sale was approved in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, which permits the selling of defensive systems to the island.

China has canceled a series of military-to-military contacts with the U.S. and China's ambassador to the United States, Zhou Wenzhong, lodged a protest at the State Department after the Bush administration notified Congress Oct. 3 that it had approved sales of US$6.46 billion worth of weapons to Taiwan.

The package included 330 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles, 32 sub-launched Harpoon Block II missiles, 30 AH-64D Block III Apache Longbow attack helicopters, 182 Javelin guided anti-tank missile rounds and 20 Javelin command launch units, and system upgrades for four E-2T aircraft.

Department of State deputy spokesman Robert Wood said at a regular news briefing Tuesday that China's reaction to the sale was unfortunate.

"It's an unfortunate decision that the Chinese have taken. We've explained to them that what we've done is very much in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act in terms of selling defensive systems to the Taiwanese and we'll continue to work with the Chinese on a whole range of issues where we have mutual interests, " Wood told reporters.

Wood said China has basically informed the State Department that some U.S.-Chinese bilateral exchanges may be affected, but would not elaborate on which activities would suffer.

Meanwhile, Department of Defense spokesman Stewart Upton said Tuesday in response to Taiwanese reporters' questions that the People's Republic of China canceled or postponed several upcoming military-to-military exchanges due to the arms sales to Taiwan.

"Bilateral events affected involve senior level visits and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exchanges that were scheduled to occur between now and the end of November. We are not going to go into further detail on the affected programs at this time, " Upton said.

"There has been no change in U.S. government policy and we have faithfully carried out the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act under which the U.S. makes available items necessary for Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self defense," he said.

"The Chinese reaction is unfortunate and results in missed opportunities," he added.

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