Washington: Two mega powers China and US are on the brink of a diplomatic showdown over Taiwan once again. China is angry with the US over its 6.4 billion dollars arms deal with Taiwan. It summoned the US ambassador and Chinese Foreign Minister told him this sale will harm the already strained relations between the two countries. In protest China will suspend military exchange visits with the US.
US says the deal was part of a planned sale inconsistent with its one-China policy. Taiwan says the deal was for defensive weapons.
Ma Ying-Jeou, Taiwanese President, said, "The United States of America announced the planned arms sales to Taiwan a couple of hours ago. They have finally agreed to sell the defensive weapons we have asked for, for a long time. We are very appreciative."
Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency said the suspension of the scheduled visits is due to the "bad impact" of the arms sales on the two countries' military relations.
Speaking after returning to Taiwan from a six day visit to the US and Central America, Ma said the deal was for "defensive weapons" and that it would allow Taiwan "to have more confidence and sense of security in developing cross-Strait relations" with China.
Earlier on Saturday, China angrily summoned the US ambassador, warning that the sale would harm already strained ties, local media reported.
The planned sale, posted on Friday on a Pentagon Web site, is likely to complicate the cooperation the US seeks from China on issues ranging from Iran's nuclear program to the loosening of Internet controls, including a Google-China standoff over censorship.
Cutting off military ties has topped the list of possible punishments that Chinese state media and academics have publicly discussed in recent weeks, as Beijing repeatedly warned the US against the arms sale.
The US has "obstinately made the wrong decision," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement read out on central television station CCTV on Saturday.
CCTV reported that Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei warned Ambassador Jon Huntsman that the sale would "cause consequences that both sides are unwilling to see".
The Vice Minister urged that the sale be immediately cancelled, it said.
The notification on the Pentagon Web site said the sale would include 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, 114 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, mine hunting ships and information technology.
US lawmakers have 30 days to comment on the proposed sale and without objections, it would likely proceed.
"This is a clear demonstration of the commitment that this administration has to provide Taiwan the defensive weapons it needs," Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary Of State For Public Affairs said on Friday.
"This action is consistent with the US one-China policy," he added, defending the move.
Taiwan is the most sensitive matter in US-China relations, with the potential to plunge into conflict two powers increasingly linked in security and economic issues.