October 7, 2008

Chinese Spokesman Says US Responsible for “Damaged” Bilateral Military Ties

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

[Xinhua: "US To Blame for Damage of Bilateral Relations: Chinese FM"]

BEIJING, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) - The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday renewed its condemnation on the United States' proposed arms sale to Taiwan and said the American side should take full responsibility for the damage of ties between the two countries and their respective armed forces.

"The US side's act has seriously blocked bilateral exchanges and contacts in various fields, including high-level visits between the two armed forces. The US side should take full responsibilities for the current situation of damaged military-to-military ties," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press conference here.

He said China always valued the relations with the US armed forces, and had made active efforts to promote the Sino-US military exchanges over many years.

The relationship between the Chinese and US militaries as a whole enjoyed sound momentum of positive growth. In such a condition, the US government, in spite of China's strong objection, on Friday notified the US Congress about its plan to sell arms to Taiwan, including Patriot III anti-missile system, E-2T airborne early warning aircraft upgrade system, Apache helicopters, Javelin missiles, Harpoon submarine-launched missiles, and some airplane accessory parts.

"The US move undoubtedly poisoned the good atmosphere of the military relations between the two nations, seriously endangered Chinese national security, and severely hindered the exchanges in various fields, including the high-level exchanges between the two armed forces," Qin said.

He said "the United States should bear full responsibility for the current situation of Sino-US military relations."

Stuart Upton, a US Defence Department spokesman, on Monday said Washington's arms sale programme acted upon the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act.

Qin said China, at the very start, firmly opposed the so-called "Taiwan Relations Act," which ran counter to the principles of the three Sino-US joint communiques and the fundamental norms governing international relations.

The United States had no right to place domestic law above international ones, or use it as an excuse to sell weapons to Taiwan, Qin noted.

Upton also said "uncertainty over the motivations and direction of China's military expansion leads others to hedge," and "this could lead to a security environment less favourable to China's interests, the region's, and our own."

Qin said he noticed the "absurd comment" of Upton on China's military power, saying such a response was totally "confounding black and white" and "making unfounded counter-charges."

"China firmly takes the road of peaceful development and follows an independent foreign policy of peace and a national defence policy that is defensive in nature," Qin said. "China is an active force of promoting world and regional peace."

He said China aimed at safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and security to maintain limited defence power, adding the country does not seek hegemony or expansionism, nor an arms race. "China's development poses no threat to anybody, " he said.

But the US arms sales to Taiwan had disturbed the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and damaged peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, Qin said.

He said "we demand the US side to fulfil its commitments of adhering to the one-China policy and opposing 'Taiwan independence' with real action, immediately cancel relevant arms sales to Taiwan and end military relations with Taiwan to avoid damaging peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and China-US state-to-state and military-to-military ties,"

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 1328 7 Oct 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.