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Sunday, July 18, 2004

The China Post

Monday, July 19, 2004

U.S. shrugs off warning, says it will sell weapons to Taiwan
2004/7/16
WASHINGTON, AP and Agencies

The United States has reaffirmed its commitment to a "one China" policy and its opposition to any moves by Beijing or Taiwan that would change the status quo.
The United States said Wednesday it would continue selling weapons to Taiwan, shrugging off a warning from Beijing that any improvement in U.S.-China relations hinged on America cutting military links with the island. The statement Thursday came a day after Sun Weide, the Chinese Embassy spokesman, called in reporters to complain about U.S. support for Taiwan.
On Tuesday, Sun, the embassy spokesman, expressed China's "grave concern" at U.S. policy on Taiwan and called for an end to arms sales to Taiwan. Relations with Washington could become strained, he warned.
"Well, I don't know why one needs to talk about recent U.S. moves," U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said when asked to comment on the statement.
Boucher said there had been no change in U.S. policy regarding China and Taiwan and vowed defense sales to Taipei would continue as enshrined in U.S. law.
"We continue the sale of appropriate defensive military equipment to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act," he said.
Senior Bush administration officials were quoted by the Washington Times Wednesday as saying a key reason for US military sales to Taiwan was China's missile buildup opposite the island.
That message was delivered to Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing last week by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, in response to Chinese complaints about Taiwan, according to the officials, the newspaper reported.
Some 500 short-range ballistic missiles in China are currently aimed at Taiwan and U.S. experts say they could destroy key Taiwanese targets with minimal advanced warning.
Rice reportedly told Chinese leaders that a weapons deal with Taiwan had been under way since April 2001 and was reaching the point of actual transfers.
Pending sales are expected to include Patriot anti-missile systems and P-3 anti-submarine aircraft. Taiwan also is negotiating to buy up to eight diesel electric submarines and several guided missile destroyers.
Taiwan's cabinet on June 2 approved a special budget of NT$610 billion (US$18.2 billion) for the purchase of advanced weaponry. A team from Taipei was reportedly in the United States recently to shop for arms. The United States remains the leading arms supplier to Taiwan despite its shift of diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.
Under a 25-year-old U.S. law called the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States acknowledges Beijing's position that Taiwan is part of China but is bound by law to provide weapons to help Taiwan defend itself if its security is threatened.
Boucher said the United States was committed to its one-China policy based on three joint communiques signed by the two countries and the Taiwan Relations Act.
"We've opposed unilateral moves by either side that would change the status quo," he said.
"For Beijing, this means no use of force or other forms of coercion against Taiwan. For Taipei, it means exercising prudence in managing all aspects of cross-straits relations," he explained.
Boucher reiterated U.S. policy not to support Taiwan's independence.
"For both sides, it means no statements or actions that would unilaterally alter Taiwan's status," he said.



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