Beijing has called on Washington to drop a pending arms sale to Taiwan amid warnings from defense analysts that the deal would probably lead to another freeze in relations between the Chinese and U.S. militaries, China Daily reported today (see GSN, Oct. 20, 2009).
While Taiwan has its own government, the island is still considered in Beijing to be Chinese territory. The mainland power has threatened to use force should Taipei seek full independence.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that the multibillion-dollar arms deal with Taiwan could be approved by Washington early this year.
"Taiwan and Tibet are of great significance to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are China's core interests," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in answer to a question on whether Washington-Beijing ties would be negatively affected by the arms sale and a possible meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
"The U.S. should see clearly the harm (of any such moves) and cancel the arms sale plan to Taiwan so as to avoid disturbing the overall situation," Yu said, adding that the two countries "should take a strategic and long-term view on relations."
China's Foreign Ministry has voiced its objections to the deal to the United States, she said.
The State Department announced the amended arms deal on Dec. 9. It could include the sale of Patriot Advanced Capability 3 air defense interceptors, 60 Black Hawk helicopters and other armaments, said Robert Kovac, the State Department's acting deputy assistant secretary for defense trade.
The United States and China resumed military exchanges in 2009 (see GSN, Oct. 27, 2009). High-level military meetings set for this year include a trip by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to China.
Should Washington move forward with the arms deal, China's People's Liberation Army would probably put a halt to such visits, said Institute of U.S. Studies chief Yuan Peng (Li/Ai, China Daily, Jan. 6).
The United States is the leading provider of weapons to Taiwan, United Press International reported. Washington is obligated to supply the island nation with defensive arms in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act (United Press International, Jan. 5).