China suspended on Saturday military contacts with the U.S. over its plans to sell $6.4 billion worth arms to Taiwan, the official Xinhua agency reported.
China’s Defense Ministry condemned the plans, which the Obama administration announced to the Congress on Friday, to sell weapons to de facto independent Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory.
The ministry said as quoted by the agency that “the Chinese side decided to suspend planned mutual military visits.”
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei told U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman earlier on Saturday that the planned arms deal could affect bilateral ties, triggering “consequences both sides do not want to see.” He demanded the sale be cancelled.
The United States seeks cooperation with China on a host of issues, including Iran and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, efforts to fight the global financial crisis and climate change.
The two countries’ bonds are already strained by a standoff over Internet censorship, trade and currency disputes, human rights and Tibet.
Beijing briefly cut off military exchanges with Washington in 2008 after the then Bush administration announced plans for arms sales to Taiwan.
Beijing has not ruled out use of force against the island, which split from the mainland in 1949.
The U.S. arms package for Taiwan would include 114 Patriot (PAC-3) anti-missile systems, 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, 12 Harpoon Block II Telemetry missiles, 2 Osprey Class mine hunting ships and a command and control enhancement system, according to the Pentagon website.
BEIJING, January 30, 2010
Source: RIA Novosti