China Warns US Against Selling Taiwan Radars

China objected Friday to a U.S. plan to supply radar equipment to
Taiwan’s air force, even though the sale was far short of the F-16
fighter jets the island’s president urged Washington to provide last
week.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said
earlier this week that the U.S. sale includes “defense services,
technical data, and defense articles” for Taiwan’s air defense system,
and radar equipment for the island’s Indigenous Defense Fighter jets.
Crowley
did not put a monetary figure on the deal or identify the American
companies involved. The U.S. is obligated by its own laws to provide
Taiwan defensive weapons.
Beijing opposes any military sales to
Taiwan as interference in its internal affairs, and the issue has often
strained U.S.-China relations.
“China resolutely opposes the
United States selling weapons and relevant technical assistance to
Taiwan,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement.
“We
urge the United States to … put an end to arms sales to Taiwan and
military ties with Taiwan to avoid causing new harm to Sino-U.S.
relations.”
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry has not commented on the
planned sale, but the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, a private advocacy
group based in suburban Washington, called it “a small move.”
For
years the island has been pressing the U.S. to sell it 66 F-16 C/D
fighter jets to help counteract a long-standing Chinese military
buildup, much of which has been aimed at providing Beijing the
wherewithal to invade across the 100-mile- (160-kilometer-) wide Taiwan
Strait.
Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949 and the
mainland still claims the island as part of its territory. It has
threatened to attack if democratic Taiwan moves to make its de facto
independence permanent.
Earlier this year it suspended defense
exchanges with Washington after the U.S. announced it would make
available to Taiwan a $6.4 billion weapons package.
Some
Taiwanese defense officials fear that the threat of additional Chinese
pressure has already convinced Washington to take the F-16 C/D sale off
the table.
However, they continue to hope that the Obama
administration might agree to a substantial upgrade of the F-16 A/B
fighters currently in the island’s inventory as a kind of consolation
prize.
Last week after the release of a Pentagon report
criticizing the secrecy surrounding China’s military expansion, Taiwan
President Ma Ying-jeou urged Washington to sell the advanced version of
the F16 fighter. Beijing said the report was “not beneficial.”
In
contrast to F-16s, the Indigenous Defense Fighter at the center of the
new radar deal is widely regarded as a relatively unsophisticated
aircraft, incapable of holding its own against the fourth generation
fighters now in the possession of the Chinese air force.