China urges US not to sell weapons to Taiwan

China has urged the United States to stop selling advanced weapons to Taiwan, a move that sends the wrong signal to the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own, a Chinese deputy chief of general staff told a US diplomat.

China urges US not to sell weapons to Taiwan

The US Defence Department informed Congress last month about a possible sale to Taiwan of Patriot missile system upgrades valued at $939 million.

'We hope the US side ... will stop selling advanced weapons to Taiwan, stop U.S.-Taiwan official engagement and military contacts and cooperation,' Xinhua news agency on Friday quoted Ma Xiaotian, an air force lieutenant-general, as telling US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte in Washington on Wednesday.

Weapons sales send the wrong signal, emboldening the island to push for formal independence, Ma said.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since their civil war split in 1949 and threatened to use force if the island, which still styles itself as the Republic of China, formally declares statehood.

Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 under the principle that there can only be 'one China' in the world, but is obliged by the Taiwan Relations Act to help the democratic island defend itself.

Ma hailed improved China-US relations but urged the United States to 'fully recognise (Taiwan President) Chen Shui-bian's 'Taiwan independence' nature and the severity of the current situation in the Taiwan Strait'.

China has repeatedly asked the United States to help rein in an increasingly assertive Taiwan and thwart a contentious plan to hold a referendum next year on UN membership.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Aralık 2007, 12:47