Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) urged the US to stop arms sales to Taiwan during his informal summit with US President Barack Obama on Saturday.
At a briefing after Xi’s two-day meeting with Obama at an estate in the southern California desert, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) said Xi reiterated Beijing’s stance that the Taiwan issue is of great concern to China’s 1.3 billion people.
Xi told Obama that Beijing hopes Washington will commit itself to the “one China” principle, follow the three communiques on which the two sides’ ties are based and not sell arms to Taiwan, Yang said.
Yang did not disclose how Obama responded to Xi’s request, except to say that Taiwan was the fifth of seven issues broached by Xi during his meeting with Obama.
However, Ben Rhodes, one of Obama’s national security advisers, said the US president replied that his administration clearly understood its commitment to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act, including providing defensive weapons.
Yang said that Xi also called on the US to develop a “major country” relationship with China.
“We have to stay each other’s partners, not rivals,” Yang said in describing such a relationship.
Xi told Obama that the two sides should respect each other and their choice of social system and development; seek common ground while setting aside differences; and pursue win-win situations rather than seeing things as a zero-sum game, he said.
Xi flew home after the summit ended at noon on Saturday.
In response to these developments, the Ministry of National Defense yesterday urged the US to maintain its commitment to sell defensive weapons to Taiwan.
Ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said the balance of military power across the Taiwan Strait has tilted significantly in China’s favor, adding that Beijing has never ceased military preparations against Taipei.
To maintain a stable situation across the Strait, Taiwan has to continue strengthening its defensive capabilities, he said.
Lo said the ministry called on Washington to keep selling Taipei defensive arms as stipulated by the act and the “six assurances” agreed on in 1982, which would help Taiwan establish self-defensive capabilities and contribute to the maintenance of a stable Asia-Pacific region.
Lo added that the ministry appreciated the US’ long-term concern with Taiwan’s security and its insistence on making security assurances to Taiwan.
The nation’s military is currently interested in procuring eight diesel-electric submarines, F16C/D fighter jets or F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the US.
According to the ministry, the US has provided Taiwan with more than US$18 billion in defensive weapons systems since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in 2008.
Separately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its appreciation of Obama’s firm stance on Taiwan-related issues a the summit.
“Taiwan has maintained strong mutual trust and smooth channels of communication with the US over the past years. The US has offered us briefings on the summit in accordance with past practice,” the foreign ministry said in a press release.
The ministry said the Republic of China government is confident that the US will continue to adhere to the pact and the “six assurances,” as well as provide Taiwan with defensive arms, it said.