China fury over $1.3bn Taiwan arms plan

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The Independent Online

China angrily criticised the United States yesterday for planned sales of $1.3bn worth of weapons to Taiwan, calling the arms deal "rude interference" in the Communist state's internal affairs.

China angrily criticised the United States yesterday for planned sales of $1.3bn worth of weapons to Taiwan, calling the arms deal "rude interference" in the Communist state's internal affairs.

"The US, regardless of China's solemn representations, will flagrantly sell a large number of advanced weapons to Taiwan." said Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi. "The US side should bear the serious consequences arising therefrom."

The US Defense Department said Taiwan has asked to buy weapons, ranging from sophisticated air-to-air missiles to 155mm artillery pieces.

The deal is likely to be completed before the end of the year unless Congress disapproves of the plans.

China has repeatedly registered strong protests over American military transfers to Taiwan over the years. Washington recognises Peking as the only legitimate government of China, but continued to sell defensive military hardware to Taiwan, which the Communist mainland leaders consider a maverick province.

The most sophisticated weapon this time would be the $150m transfer of 200 AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (Amraam) made by Raytheon Corp and Lockheed Martin. They would be used on Taiwan's US-built F-16 fighter jets.

The biggest proposed package would be $513m in secure-transmission radio equipment from General Dynamics, then $405m for 146 howitzers, plus machine-guns and other equipment. The fourth package, valued at $240m, would include 71 Harpoon anti-ship missiles made by Boeing, a Pentagon spokesman said. ( Reuters)

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