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January 27, 2010

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China criticizes US ahead of expected arms sale to Taiwan

CHINA criticized the United States yesterday ahead of the expected announcement of new arms sales to Taiwan.

"Once again, we urge the United States to fully recognize the sensitivity and damage of arms sales to Taiwan," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a regular news briefing.

Ma made the comments a day after senior US congressional aides told the media the Obama administration had decided to approve an arms package for Taiwan.

With advanced Patriot missiles on the list, the package will be the first arms sales to Taiwan approved by the Obama administration.

The US administration has been consulting with Congress ahead of a formal announcement of the sale, which is likely to include Black Hawk helicopters and Patriot missiles, senior US congressional aides told The Associated Press.

China opposes all arms sales to the island and will likely suspend US military exchanges in response.

"China's opposition to US arms sales to Taiwan has been consistent, clear and unswerving," Ma said.

Ma stressed the arms sales would jeopardize the overall China-US cooperation, but he did not say what actions China would take.

"Selling arms to Taiwan is a mistake that will bring negative effects to the development of the China-US relations and shows the American government's lack of strategic insight," Liu Jiangyong of Tsinghua University's Institute of International Studies said yesterday.

In 2008, China suspended most military dialogue with the US after the Bush administration approved a US$6.5-billion arms package to Taiwan.

Among upcoming exchanges that could suffer, General Chen Bingde, the Chinese military's chief of the general staff, was due to visit the US, while US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, had planned to come to China.

In response to a question concerning the Google row, Ma underscored the importance of respecting each other's core interests and properly handling sensitive issues.

"If you look back at the past year, you'll find China-US relationship generally maintained a stable momentum of growth, which didn't come easily and needed to be cherished," Ma said, attributing the stable ties to both countries' concerted efforts.

Unlike his predecessors, US President Barack Obama made his maiden state visit to China in the first year of his presidency. Presidents of both countries agreed to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship for the 21st Century.


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