Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi urged the United States to immediately revoke a $5.85 billion deal to upgrade Taiwan’s F-16 fighter jets, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported Friday.
In comments made on Thursday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Yang urged Washington to cut military links with Taipei to safeguard Sino-US relations, the report said.
Yang made the remarks in a speech to members of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and the US-China Business Council, Xinhua said.
“We should cherish our cooperation, as it embodies the important common interests of our two countries,” said Yang.
“When it comes to major issues concerning China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, the United States should handle them with extreme care so as to prevent interference and setbacks in China-US relations.”
Yang added: “The Chinese side urges the US side to take China’s solemn position very seriously, correct the mistake of selling weapons to Taiwan, immediately revoke the above-mentioned wrong decision, stop arms sales to Taiwan and US-Taiwan military contacts.”
China had earlier strongly condemned the military package, summoning the US ambassador and warning the move would undermine warming military relations.
Washington recognises Beijing rather than Taipei, but remains a leading arms supplier to the island of 23 million inhabitants, providing a source of continued US-China tension.
However, relations between the US and Chinese militaries have improved over the past year and in July, Mike Mullen became the first chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff since 2007 to visit China.
Ties between China and Taiwan have improved since Ma came to power in 2008, but Beijing has refused to renounce the use of force against the island, even though it has ruled itself for more than six decades since their split in 1949.