Military exchanges suspended
Sat, Jan 30, 2010

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CHINA moved swiftly on Saturday to suspend military exchanges with the United States after Washington's announcement of arms sales to Taiwan, widening rifts in their far-reaching relationship.

The Defence Ministry, in a strongly-worded statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency, condemned the proposed US sale of weapons to self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, which China considers an illegitimate breakaway province.

'Considering the severe harm and odious effect of US arms sales to Taiwan, the Chinese side has decided to suspend planned mutual military visits,' Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying.

The Obama administration told the US Congress on Friday of the proposed sales 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.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei also told the US ambassador to China, Mr Jon Huntsman, that the arms deal could jeopardise bonds with Washington, which has looked to China for help in surmounting the financial crisis, dealing with Iran and North Korea, and fighting climate change.

The US arms sales to Taiwan have joined trade imbalances, currency disputes, human rights, the Internet, and Tibet among rifts dividing the world's biggest and third-biggest economies.





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