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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Deal hurts 'security': China

February 3, 2010

Taipei Times
February 1, 2010, Page 1

US arms sales to Taiwan hurt China’s national
security, its foreign minister said, escalating
the rhetoric in a dispute threatening to deepen
rifts between the world’s biggest and third-biggest economies.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (???) was the latest
and most senior official to denounce the arms
sale plan Washington announced on Friday.

The administration of US President Barack Obama
has defended the package worth about US$6.4
billion as necessary to boost regional security.

Yang, traveling in Cyprus, said China and the US
had held many discussions about the arms sales,
but Washington had ignored Beijing’s demand they
be stopped, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

The US should "truly respect China’s core
interests and major concerns, and immediately
rescind the mistaken decision ... in order to
avoid damaging broader China-US relations,” Yang said.

He said the US move had "damaged China’s national
security and great task of reunification [with Taiwan]."

Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province.
Reflecting the intense emotions over the issue,
Chinese Internet users vented anger with calls to
boycott top US exporter Boeing and other firms involved in the sales.

China has for years opposed US arms sales to
Taiwan. For the first time, however, Beijing is
seeking to pressure the US by punishing those
private companies whose arms are involved in the Taiwan sales.

China said it would impose unspecified sanctions
on the companies and reduce international
cooperation with the US unless it canceled the new arms package.

Beijing planned to postpone or partially halt
some military cooperation, including a series of
visits planned for this year, among them US
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ planned trip
to China, meetings between top military
commanders and mutual visits by Navy ships, Xinhua reported.

"Especially at a time when the world has yet to
escape the financial crisis, and also faces
global problems such as climate change, food
security and nuclear non-­proliferation, it is
not in US interests for China-US relations to
experience setbacks,” the state news agency said.

US officials sought to downplay the dispute on Saturday.

"We regret that the Chinese government has
announced that it plans to curtail
military-to-military and other security-related
exchanges and take action against US firms,” said
P.J. Crowley, the State Department’s chief spokesman.

"We believe our policy contributes to stability
and security in the region," he said.

US officials have said Taiwan, which lags China
in the balance of military power, needs updated
weapons to give it more sway when negotiating
with Beijing, which has aimed more than 1,400
short-range and mid-range missiles at Taiwan.

Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang
(???) described the sale as involving defensive
weapons that could help prevent cross-strait hostilities.

"This is very much about enhancing Taiwan’s
self-defense to fend off any attack from Beijing.
Beijing will think twice. That’s why they are opposing US arms sales," he said.

The China-US rift comes despite improving
China-Taiwan economic cooperation, and the thrust
of Beijing’s fury has been directed at Washington rather than at Taipei.

The sales, subject to congressional review,
include Black Hawk utility helicopters built by
United Technologies Corp’s Sikorsky Aircraft;
Lockheed Martin Corp-built and Raytheon
Co-integrated Patriot missile defenses; and
Harpoon land and sea-attack missiles built by Boeing Co.

The Global Times, a popular Chinese newspaper
with a nationalist slant, and a Chinese Web
portal, Sohu, launched an online petition protesting the sales.

However, a sampling of residents in Beijing
showed little enthusiasm for a boycott.

"A boycott is not at all feasible. We have an
open economy now. So many US companies are in
China that if you stop buying their goods you’ll
also end up hurting Chinese people," said Ken
Zheng, a 23-year-old consultant who stood outside
an outlet of US-based fried chicken chain KFC in
Beijing’s fashionable Sanlitun area.

Connie Zhang, also outside the KFC, said: "What a
silly idea. Who on earth would suggest such a
thing? I’m only interested in peace. I want nothing to do with politics."

Representatives of the companies involved in the
arm sales either had no immediate comment or did not respond to calls.

Boeing has big commercial interests in China, the
world’s most populous market, including
commercial aircraft sales. United Technologies
also has significant business in China, where it
sells Carrier brand heating and air-conditioning,
Otis elevators and escalators and other products.

Although they cooperate on counter-terrorism,
nuclear arms control, climate change and other
issues, Beijing and Washington are at odds over
trade, China’s tight control of its currency,
policies in Tibet and Internet censorship.

The feud could damage broader diplomacy between
the two permanent members of the UN Security
Council. Washington has sought China’s backing in
its nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea
and in fighting climate change.
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