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China warns U.S. against arms sales to Taiwan

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:08 AM EDT, Thu September 22, 2011
A model of a US-made F-16 fighter jet is displayed at the Taipei World Trade Centre at the opening of the Taipei Aerospace and Defence Technology Exhibition on August 10.
A model of a US-made F-16 fighter jet is displayed at the Taipei World Trade Centre at the opening of the Taipei Aerospace and Defence Technology Exhibition on August 10.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The United States is selling $5.3 billion worth of arms to Taiwan
  • China says the deal will undermine bilateral relations
  • China regards Taiwan as a renegade province
  • The United States made a $6 billion arms sale to Taiwan in 2010

(CNN) -- China warned the United States Thursday that a multi-billion dollar arms sales to Taiwan will create "severe obstacles" between Beijing and Washington, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

"The wrongdoing by the U.S. side will inevitably undermine bilateral relations as well as exchanges and cooperation in military and security areas," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said, according to Xinhua. Zhang summoned U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke to lodge a protest.

The $5.3 billion arms package includes upgrades to Taiwan's F-16 fighter fleet, a five year extension of F-16 pilot training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and spare parts for the upkeep of three different planes currently in use by the Taiwanese, according to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. The deal is part of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

"We firmly believe that our arms sales to Taiwan contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," she said.

Chinese officials asked the U.S. to end military relations with Taiwan and work with the Chinese to safeguard Sino-U.S. relations, Xinhua reported.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province. Taiwan began as the remnant of the government that ruled over mainland China, until a communist uprising proved victorious in 1949.

The Taiwan Strait separates the mainland from the island.

"China strongly urges the United States to be fully aware of the high sensitivity and serious harm of the issue, seriously treat the solemn stance of China, honor its commitment and immediately cancel the wrong decision," Zhang said.

In 1979, the United States carried out its "one China" policy by switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. But the Taiwan Relations Act obligates the United States to help defend the island if needed. The United States also is Taiwan's main arms supplier.

Beijing broke off military contacts with Washington last year to protest another arms sale to Taiwan. The sale included more than $6 billion in Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and communications equipment, which Taiwan said it needed for self defense.

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