Former US president Jimmy Carter said yesterday that when ties with China were reestablished 29 years ago, Beijing privately acknowledged that the US would continue to sell arms to Taiwan.
At a ceremony marking the 29th anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic ties, Carter read excerpts from his diary on negotiations with late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping (
"[Deng] agreed that our statement to settle the Taiwan issue peacefully would not be contradicted publicly by China and he understood that we would sell defensive weapons to Taiwan after [a US-Taiwan defense] treaty expired," Carter said.
"Publicly they are going to disapprove of this action, but privately they have acknowledged that it will be done," he said, reading the Dec. 14, 1978, diary entry.
The US announced on Dec. 15, 1978, it would sever ties with Taiwan. It reestablished relations with China on Jan. 1, 1979.
Carter said Deng announced his "reform and opening" policies only three days after the US announced plans to normalize ties.
"At a stroke of a pen by Deng Xiaoping and me, China entered a new era and never stopped moving forward in improving the living conditions of the Chinese people and contributing to the global economy," Carter said. "Without normalizing relations with the United States it would be very difficult for China to concentrate on economic development ... as China needed a peaceful international environment and a reduced threat from the Soviet Union."
China regularly rails against US arms sales to Taiwan, an issue that resurfaced last month after China refused to allow the US Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier battle group to make a port call in Hong Kong.
China later hinted the refusal was partly in retaliation for recent US weapons sales to Taiwan.
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