Sat, Sep 10, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Beijing warns ‘madmen’ in Washington on F-16s

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff Reporter

An editorial in the People’s Daily yesterday adopted unusually bellicose language to “warn” Washington against selling advanced weapons to Taiwan, pointing to the “disastrous price” that would be paid if Washington proceeds with the sale.

“At present, some madmen on Capitol Hill are making an uproar about consolidating and expanding this cancer,” the paper said, referring to the Taiwan Relations Act, which requires the US to sell Taiwan the military equipment it needs for its self-defense.

Calling US politicians who support continued arms sales to Taiwan “wildly arrogant,” the editorial said Sino-US relations would find themselves in a predicament if the sale were allowed to proceed.

US Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, has been one of the main proponents of the sale of the 66 F-16C/Ds, which Taipei has been requesting from the US since 2007 and which is the main focus of Beijing’s warnings.

In April, US Senator Richard Lugar, top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton urging the Obama administration to make the F-16C/Ds available to Taiwan.

The letter warns that a failure to do so would leave its ally with “no credible air-to-air capability.”

Forty-five senators, led by US Senate Taiwan Caucus co-chairs Robert Menendez and James Inhofe, and 181 members of the US House of Representatives have signed letters calling on US President Barack Obama’s administration to release the F-16s to Taiwan.

The Obama administration is expected to announce its final decision on the sale on Oct. 1, which coincides with national day in the People’s Republic of China.

Beijing has long said that the sale of F-16C/Ds was a “red line” that should not be crossed, warning that it would severely undermine relations between Beijing and Washington.

“Some people want to turn back the tide of history, but they must be clear about the disastrous price they will have to pay,” the editorial said.

“A word of advice for those muddleheaded congressmen: Don’t go too far, don’t play with fire,” it said.

The editorial was signed “Zhong Sheng,” or “voice of China,” which has been used in the past to reflect the views of the senior party leadership.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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