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Tuesday, December 15, 2015, 21:01

China urges US to stop arms sale to Taiwan

By Agencies

BEIJING - China on Tuesday urged the United States to stop arms sale to Taiwan and do something more conducive for China-US relations.

"The United States should be fully aware that the arms sale to Taiwan is highly sensitive and dangerous. The US should abide by its commitment and stop arms sale to Taiwan, and do something more conducive for China-US relations and the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relations," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

Hong made the remarks at a regular press briefing while commenting the report by Reuters that the Obama administration is expected to authorize the sale of two guided missile frigates to Taiwan as soon as this week.

The sale would mark the first time in four years that the United States has shipped arms to Taiwan, the longest gap in such arms sales in nearly four decades, the report said.

Hong said China's opposition to arms sale to Taiwan is "steady, clear and consistent."

The arms sale severely goes against the three joint communiqués between China and the United States, especially the one signed on Aug 17, 1982. It also interferes in China's domestic affairs and harms peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and China-US relations.

Under the joint communiqué, the United States promises to gradually reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan and eventually stop selling weapons to Taiwan.

The expected sale comes a year after Congress passed the Naval Transfer Act authorizing the sale of up to four Perry-class frigates to the island in December 2014.

Taiwan has said it expects to pay about US$176 million for the two vessels and that it would review its needs before making a decision on two more.

The White House declined comment about the sale, which would come after increasingly intense pressure from Congress, including a unanimous vote last week by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on legislation calling on US President Barack Obama to provide a timeline on when it would move forward.

Congressional sources said the White House was pushing to move ahead with the Taiwan deal before the end of 2015 - an important deadline because of Taipei's budget cycle.

The frigates will come out of existing US inventory and will not require new ships to be built.

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