Washington, Oct 5 : Beijing has warned that the US' decision to sell weapons to Taiwan worth more than six billion dollars would hamper US-China relations. Following the US announcement on Friday in this regard, officials in Beijing issuing denunciations and warnings that the weapons deal could "worsen bilateral relations".
The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a news release on Friday that it had notified the Congress about the proposed arms sales. A US State Department spokesman said that the Congress had 30 days to raise any objections to the plan.
Among the weapons proposed for sale were 3.1 billion dollars in Patriot Advanced Capability-3 guided missile systems, a sophisticated array of missiles, radars and control systems designed to defend against missiles and aircraft.
Also included in the proposed deal were 2.5 billion dollars worth of Apache attack helicopters and support systems. About 250 million dollars in equipment to upgrade Taiwan's E-2T Hawkeye surveillance aircraft was included, and 200 million dollars in Harpoon antiship missiles, reported the New York Times.
The proposal also included more than 300 million dollars in spare parts for Taiwanese aircraft, including F-5 and F-16 jet fighters. Besides, there was also a proposal for selling Taiwan 47 million dollars in Javelin guided missiles and command systems.
Reacting to these announcements, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said that the Chinese government "strongly opposed" the deal and warning that it could "damage ties between Beijing and Washington if it went through".
According to Chinese news reports, a senior officer from the American Embassy in Beijing was also summoned by Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei to protest the deal.
On the other hand, from Taiwan side a government spokesman expressed appreciation to the US and stressed that the leadership in Taipei wanted to maintain a strong defense while striving to improve relations with China. "President Ma Ying-jeou would like to express gratitude to the US for the arms package. A strong defense and peace in the Taiwan Strait are necessary for Taiwan's prosperity," the Taiwanese spokesman said.
Traditionally, the US foreign policy has recognized only one China, but stresses that its reunification with Taiwan must be achieved through negotiations. Washington has pledged to support Taiwan in any unprovoked attack from China.