China Watching

/ October 6, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Looks like China didn't take long to respond to the Defense Department's announcement on Friday of a multibillion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan:

Beijing has notified the U.S. that it will not go forward with some senior level visits and some other cooperative military-to-military plans, Marine Maj. Stewart Upton, a Defense Department spokesman, told The Associated Press.

"In response to Friday's announcement of Taiwan arms sales, the People's Republic of China canceled or postponed several upcoming military-to-military exchanges," he said.

Sister publication Inside U.S.-China Trade reported last month that the sales had stalled since 2001 because of internal disagreement between political parties in Taiwan over whether the sales were necessary given the fact that they would likely anger China.

Taiwan approved the weapons purchases last December following a compromise in its legislature that limited some of the sales.

In a statement released over the weekend, a Chinese government spokesman called the potential sale "a serious violation of the principles set in the three Sino-U.S. Joint Communiqués, August 17 Communiqué in particular, and gross interference in China's internal affairs, which will undermine China's national security, and create disturbance and obstacles to the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relations. The Chinese government and people will definitely respond with strong indignation."

-- John Liang