A top Chinese general said Wednesday that further US arms sales to Taiwan could damage fledgling military ties between Washington and Beijing, and that it amounted to American meddling.
When asked by a reporter if US weapons sales to Taiwan would affect defense relations between the two economic powers, China’s Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde said: “My answer is affirmative. It will.”
“As to how bad the impact will be, it will depend on the nature of the weapons sold to Taiwan,” Chen said at a joint news conference with his US counterpart, Admiral Mike Mullen, who heads the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Chen said the situation in the region had changed dramatically over the years and that “trying to contain China’s development using Taiwan would be futile.”
“Since it (Taiwan) is part of China, why will it need United States weapons sales to guarantee its security?” said Chen, in a week-long visit to the United States.
The general said the arms sales represented US interference in the “domestic” affairs of another country, an approach that could be described as “hegemonic.”
Chen said that in his talks with US lawmakers, some members of Congress agreed that it was time to repeal legislation that calls for arms sales to Taiwan.
China cut off defense ties last year with the United States after Washington announced more than $6 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan. Beijing considers Taiwan — where the mainland’s defeated nationalists fled in 1949 — to be a territory awaiting reunification.