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US arms sale to 'spark strong reaction'

(China Daily)

08:14, September 19, 2011

WASHINGTON / BEIJING - An arms sale by the United States to Taiwan, a probability according to media reports, will damage relations with China and trigger strong reaction from Beijing, analysts said.

According to a Washington Times report over the weekend, the Obama administration was expected to formally notify Congress this week of a $4.2-billion arms deal to Taiwan that will include an upgrade for the island's aging fleet of F-16 fighter jets.

Taiwan applied in 2007 to buy 66 F-16 C/D fighters. These jets have better radar and more powerful weapons than the 146 F-16 A/B fighters it currently has.

US President Barack Obama had reportedly decided against selling Taiwan the advanced F-16 model, the C/D fighters, despite requests from Taipei and Congress. But Obama may authorize the sale of upgrade kits for the F-16 A/B model.

Beijing has already warned of severe consequences if the arms package goes ahead.

Zhou Tienong, vice-chairman of China's top legislature, said on Saturday during a visit to Washington that an arms sale to Taiwan will hurt not only Sino-US relations and cross-Straits ties but also the interests of the American people.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu on Friday urged the US to abide by the three joint communiqus on relations in which the US pledged to reduce arms sales to the island.

US arms sales to Taiwan have long been a source of tension in cross-Straits, and China-US, relations. Beijing broke off military ties in January last year in protest against a $6.4 billion US arms sale to Taiwan which included Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and equipment for Taiwan's existing F-16 fleet. China rejected a proposal for a visit by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June 2010. It was not until the end of 2010 that military-to-military exchanges resumed.

Beijing will react fiercely if the Obama administration allows the arms sale, according to an article published on financial news website

Any sale would be a gross intervention in China's internal affairs and cast a shadow over Sino-US relations, the article said.

If the sale went through "a smokeless war on the economic front would occur between China and the US", it said. The article also suggested that China should reduce its huge holdings of US Treasury bonds as part of retaliatory measures.

"I certainly expect that we will see reaction from China and we will see suspension of some military exchanges," Bonnie Glaser, China security expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said.

But neither Washington nor Beijing wanted to see it escalate, she said during a discussion at the US-China Policy Foundation last week.

Tao Wenzhao, a senior researcher at Tsinghua University, said that any arms sale that occurred 32 years after the normalization of China-US relations "is incompatible with the big picture".

"The (arms sale) hurts China's core interests. And to keep on doing the wrong thing for 30 years just doesn't make it right," he added.

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Leave your comment6 comments

  1. Name

wende at 2011-09-2071.255.83.*
What was written in the joing commniques between China and US is international between states. Taiwan Relations Act is a document applies only to US. Which one is more important? Only fools don"t know. China must show some teeth to convey its disapproval. Mere talks carry no weight with the west, specially the US.
liuhongmei at 2011-09-1927.18.155.*
I hope the peace of the worrld
liuhongmei at 2011-09-1927.18.101.*
I hope the peace of the worrld
Overseas Chinese at 2011-09-1958.172.97.*
It goes to show that China must never never trust America no matter what they say, how they say, and who is saying. Even Obama has shown himself to be unreliable, untrustworthy, unfriendly at heart. China must take better care of herself and build up more economic and military power.
helen at 2011-09-19118.100.69.*
If the United States decided to sell arms to Taiwan, then Chinese leaders should reciprocate by selling anti-ship and air defence missiles to N Korea and Iran. This must include J10 and J11 fighter planes.And PLEASE modernise the PLA even more expeditiously, especially the 2nd Artillery Force (SAF) to deal with US Global Tyranny. And please advise your leaders and the PLA to stop flirting with US leaders, US media and US military! You have not learnt the lessons of Gorbachev whose flirt with US and European leaders and Western media resulted in the collapse of Soviet Union?In calm. prepare for a real physical crisis and conflict. China must not be humiliated again by foreign powers, especially the United States!!!

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