China announced yesterday it will postpone bilateral military programs and security talks and impose sanctions against companies in response to the US government’s planned US$6.4 billion arms deal with Taiwan.
A Foreign Ministry announcement said China had decided to partially halt exchange programs between the two countries’ military forces, as well as vice-ministerial talks on strategic security, arms control and anti-proliferation, scheduled to be held soon.
China will also impose sanctions on US companies involved in the arms deal to Taiwan, the press statement said.
The Obama administration advised US Congress on Friday of the proposed sale to Taiwan, a potential US$6.4 billion package including Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot “Advanced Capability-3” anti-missile missiles, and two refurbished Osprey-class mine-hunting ships.
The Chinese Defence Ministry also lodged a stern protest yesterday afternoon.
Qian Lihua, the Defence Ministry’s Foreign Affairs Office director, summoned the defence attache of the US Embassy in Beijing to lodge the protest, according to a press statement.
In a similar warning lodged with the US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, He Yafei, said the country was “strongly indignant” about the proposed sale of weapons.
The US decision “constitutes a gross intervention into China’s internal affairs, seriously endangers China’s national security and harms China’s peaceful reunification efforts,” He was quoted saying in a Foreign Ministry statement.
“The US plan will definitely undermine China-US relations and bring about serious negative impact on exchanges and cooperation in major areas between the two countries, and lead to an aftermath both sides would not prefer,” He said.
He urged the US side to “fully recognize the gravity of the issue, revoke the erroneous decision on arms sales to Taiwan and stop selling weapons to Taiwan.”
The sale is viewed as a serious contravention of three joint communiques between China and the United States, especially the “August 17” communique agreed on in 1982.
The United States said in the 1982 agreement that “it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan” and “intends to reduce gradually its sales of arms to Taiwan, leading over a period of time to a final resolution.”
In 2008, China curtailed military exchanges with the United States after the Bush administration approved a US$6.5 billion Taiwan arms deal, including 30 Apache attack helicopters and 330 Patriot missiles.