Tue, Jul 20, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Beijing miffed over US `interference' with TRA resolution


China has condemned a US Congressional resolution reaffirming America's commitment to supply weapons to Taiwan.

The US House of Representatives passed a resolution last week reaffirming its commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act, the law that requires Washington to arm Taipei, as the cornerstone of US relations with Taipei.

The resolution said China's military modernisation and weapons procurement programmes were matters of grave concern, particularly the recent deployment of about 500 missiles directed toward Taiwan.

"We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to this," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue (章啟月) said in a statement seen on the ministry's Web site yesterday.

"[This] brazenly violates Chinese sovereignty and grossly interferes in China's internal affairs," she said, adding that the Bush administration should oppose the resolution.

"Splittist activities by `Taiwan independence' forces are the biggest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," Zhang said.

China has made solemn representations with the US side, Zhang said, adding that US arms sales to Taiwan would sabotage China-US relations and undermine American interests.

But analysts said the tone of the protest was relatively mild and unlikely to sour ties with the US. Bilateral trade and investment are booming, and China has backed the US-led war on terror and taken a leading role in trying to resolve a crisis over North Korea's nuclear programmes.

The resolution said US President George W. Bush should encourage further dialogue between Beijing and Taipei and should not discourage Taiwanese officials from visiting the US.

Bush and Congress should determine whether China's arms build-up required that additional defense articles and services be made available to Taiwan, the resolution said.

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