China: US Arms Sale to Taiwan will Disrupt Military Exchanges

Posted September 28th, 2011 at 9:51 am (UTC-5)
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China says military cooperation with the United States — including high level visits and joint maneuvers — will suffer in the aftermath of Washington's $5.85 billion move to upgrade Taiwan's Air Force.

Beijing has repeatedly condemned the U.S. deal announced last week to modernize Taiwan's fleet of F-16 fighter jets, and Wednesday the Chinese Defense Ministry warned of “direct consequences” for the deal.

Separately, the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused Washington Wednesday of meddling in China's internal affairs and repeated demands for Washington to stop all arms sales to Taiwan.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province, and has warned of possible military force against the island if it formally declares independence.

Tuesday, Admiral Robert Willard, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, said the arms package will not shift the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait, and said China will continue to hold a military advantage in the region. He also said he doubted the arms deal would have any long-term impact on growing ties between the U.S. and Chinese militaries.

Speaking in Washington, Willard said the deal would help narrow the gap between Taiwan and China but that China still has more firepower because of its ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

The United States is obligated by law to provide Taiwan with weapons for its defense.

Taipei has been asking since 2007 to purchase 66 F-16 C/D aircraft — a model with better radar and more powerful weapons systems than the current fleet. U.S. officials have said the upgrade announced last week would essentially accomplish the same objective.

China suspended military contacts with the United States for much of 2010, following a similar military aid package.