2011/05/19

Arms sales to Taiwan damage US-China ties: Chen

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2011 (AFP) - A top Chinese general said Wednesday
that further US arms sales to Taiwan could damage fledgling military
ties between Washington and Beijing, and that it amounted to American
meddling.

When asked by a reporter if US weapons sales to Taiwan would affect
defense relations between the two economic powers, China's Chief of
General Staff Chen Bingde said: "My answer is affirmative. It will."

"As to how bad the impact will be, it will depend on the nature of the
weapons sold to Taiwan," Chen said at a joint news conference with his
US counterpart, Admiral Mike Mullen, who heads the Joint Chiefs of
Staff.

Chen said the situation in the region had changed dramatically over
the years and that "trying to contain China's development using Taiwan
would be futile."

"Since it (Taiwan) is part of China, why will it need United States
weapons sales to guarantee its security?" said Chen, in a week-long
visit to the United States.

The general said the arms sales represented US interference in the
"domestic" affairs of another country, an approach that could be
described as "hegemonic."

Chen said that in his talks with US lawmakers, some members of
Congress agreed that it was time to repeal legislation that calls for
arms sales to Taiwan.

China cut off defense ties last year with the United States after
Washington announced more than $6 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan.
Beijing considers Taiwan -- where the mainland's defeated nationalists
fled in 1949 -- to be a territory awaiting reunification.