EDITORIAL NOTES

US arms sale to Taiwan fires up tension: China Daily

Two Taiwanese Navy ships made in the US are seen docked at the naval base in Keelung harbour.
Two Taiwanese Navy ships made in the US are seen docked at the naval base in Keelung harbour.PHOTO: EPA

In its editorial on Dec 18, 2015, China Daily questions the US administration's decision on Wednesday (Dec 16) to sell arms to Taiwan, arguing that it should be striving to promote the good momentum in cross-Straits ties

Beijing has opposed in the strongest terms the United States administration's decision on Wednesday (Dec 16) to sell arms to Taiwan.

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang summoned Kaye Lee, charge d'affaires of the US embassy in China, and lodged solemn protests with the United States.

The US decision, which goes against the commitments the US has made in three joint communiqués with China, is a blatant provocation and a serious violation of China's sovereignty and security interests. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory, which has been widely recognised by members of the international community, including the US.

Washington still has a chance to correct its wrongs as the US Congress has 30 days to raise objections to the decision to green-light the US$1.8 billion (S$2.5 billion) arms deal.

Through vowing to stick to the one-China policy, the US government has cited the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act and the defence needs of the island to try and justify selling arms to Taiwan in recent years.

Cross-Straits relations received a boost and a hard-won opportunity for reconciliation between the two sides last month when Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou met in Singapore for the first meeting between leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Straits since 1949. So the US, which sees itself as a Pacific power, should be striving to promote the good momentum in cross-Straits ties instead of damaging it.

US arms sales to the island have over the years been a major disrupter of its relations with Beijing. The US should be held solely responsible for a downturn in relations as the deal, if approved, will surely cast a shadow over them.

To safeguard its national interests, China has decided to take necessary measures, including sanctions on the US companies involved in the arms sale. This is a strong message that Chinese mainland companies will not have any business connections with US companies that engage in arms dealings with Taiwan.

China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, a grouping of 22 newspapers seeking to promote coverage of Asian affairs