Chinese plans to reduce contact ‘unfortunate’: US

October 8th, 2008 - 6:33 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 8 (DPA) China’s decision to reduce contacts with the US over weapons sales to Taiwan is “unfortunate”, the US State Department said Tuesday, while pledging to continue working with Beijing.”It’s an unfortunate decision that the Chinese have taken,” deputy spokesman Robert Wood said.

China strongly opposed the plans announced last week to sell $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan, and said US-Chinese military relations would be “poisoned” over the deal.

“The US ignored the opposition of China to sell military arms to Taiwan, which poisoned the Sino-US relationship and also harmed the sound atmosphere between the two militaries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing earlier Tuesday.

The arms package includes components for upgrading E-2 Hawkeye early-warning aircraft, 30 Apache attack helicopters, the PAC-3 short range missile-defence system, 32 Harpoon missiles, spare parts for F16A/B, F5E/5F and C-130 aircraft as well as 182 Javelin anti-tank missiles.

The US has sold weapons and military equipment to Taiwan even after reversing policy and recognising China in 1979. The US has aided Taiwanese defences to help fend off any attempts by Beijing to retake the island by military force.

China regards Taiwan as a rogue province and US support for it has been a source of tension between the two countries. Wood said China has informed Washington that some bilateral contacts could be severed but he did not offer details.

“They have basically informed us that some US-Chinese bilateral … events, activities, may be affected,” he said.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain welcomed the Bush administration’s decision that came after more than a one-year delay. But McCain also criticised the exclusion of fighter jets and submarines.

“The administration has refrained from providing all of the elements requested by Taiwan for its legitimate security requirements,” McCain said.

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