US weapons deal ‘poisoned’ military ties: China

October 7th, 2008 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Oct 7 (DPA) China’s foreign ministry Tuesday said a US arms deal for Taiwan had “poisoned” military ties between Washington and Beijing, but it did not confirm US reports that China had cancelled some bilateral meetings.”The United States 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,” ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

Qin said China “attaches great importance” to military exchanges with the United States and had seen “positive momentum” until last week’s approval of a $6.4-billion weapons’ sale to Taiwan.

“This seriously harmed the security of China, and puts obstacles in the way of military cooperation,” he said of the deal when asked if China had cancelled or postponed bilateral military meetings with the United States.

“The responsibility all lies on the US side,” Qin said.

Taiwan Saturday welcomed the US arms sale, calling it the start of a new era of Taiwan-US mutual trust.

But China still regards Taiwan as its breakaway province and sees the sale of weapons as encouraging Taiwan to seek formal independence from China.

The Chinese foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador to China to lodge a formal protest over the sale.

The US government approved the sale of six major packages of weaponry to Taiwan, ending the nearly year-long freeze on arms sales to the island.

The Bush administration will go ahead with the deal if the Congress does not object within 30 days.

It covers the sale of components for upgrading E-2 Hawkeye early-warning aircraft, 30 Apache attack helicopters, the PAC-3 anti-missile 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 pledged to sell Taiwan arms for its defence since 1979.

The Bush administration had delayed the latest package since late 2007, amid reports that Washington was unhappy about Taipei’s unwillingness to boost its defence budget.

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