Taiwan welcomes US decision on arms sale
Sat, Jan 30, 2010

TAIPEI (AFP) - TAIWAN welcomed on Saturday a decision by the United States to sell US$6.4 billion in weapons to the island, saying the deal was good for ties with China.

President Ma Ying-jeou, on a flight home from a state visit to Central America, said the sales would help the island further develop ties with China.

'It will let Taiwan feel more confident and secure so we can have more interactions with China,' Mr Ma was quoted by Taiwan's Central News Agency as saying.

The defence ministry was also up beat, saying: 'The defence ministry welcomes and thanks the US decision.... This would enable Taiwan to be more confident in seeking reconciliation with China and help peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.' 'The various defensive weapons provided by the US will also facilitate the transformation and modernisation of our national defence,' the ministry said.

The arms sales immediately provoked an angry protest from China, which warned of 'serious' damage to Sino-US relations and suspended visits between the Chinese and US armed forces scheduled for Sunday.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei made an urgent official protest to the US ambassador in Beijing, Jon Huntsman, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington told AFP.





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