Source: Chinese official tells Clinton U.S. should reconsider Taiwan arms deal

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

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi meets with Secretary of State Clinton in New York
  • Yang calls on the U.S. to reconsider an arms sale to Taiwan
  • The $5.3 billion package includes upgrades to Taiwan's F-16 fighers
  • China voiced strong opposition to the deal when it was announced last week
China is continuing to speak out against a multibillion-dollar U.S. arms sale to Taiwan, with the Chinese foreign minister telling U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday that the Obama administration should reconsider the deal.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with Clinton in New York, where the United Nations General Assembly is in session, according to a senior State Department official who spoke on background.
Yang "was making very serious representations to Secretary Clinton, asked the Obama administration to reconsider this decision and indicated that it would harm the trust and confidence that was established between the two sides," the official said.
Chinese officials "have indicated that they're going to suspend or to cancel or postpone a series of ... military-to-military engagements," the official said.
Clinton "responded very clearly" that the United States has a strategic interest in stability in the region, and that the Taiwan Relations Act "provides for a strong rationale for the provision of defensive capabilities and weapons to Taiwan as part of a larger context to preserve that peace and stability," the official said.
Clinton also told Yang that the United States supports improved relations between mainland China and Taiwan.
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 the State Department. The deal is part of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.
China voiced strong opposition to the deal when it was announced last week, with the state-run Xinhua news agency quoting China's vice foreign minister, Zhang Zhijun, as saying, "The wrongdoing by the U.S. side will inevitably undermine bilateral relations as well as exchanges and cooperation in military and security areas."
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.
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.