The Chinese government yesterday said it was “seriously concerned” about a US congressional resolution adopted on Friday that would encourage Washington to sell F-16 aircraft to Taiwan and acknowledges that Japan administers the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台).
In comments posted on the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site, spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) said Beijing had expressed “serious concern” over and “strong opposition” to provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 that would pressure US President Barack Obama to sell F-16C/D aircraft to Taiwan and reaffirm Washington’s support for Japan’s position on the Diaoyutais. The islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, are also claimed by Taiwan and China.
The bill, which would allocate a US$640.7 billion budget for, and authorize spending and programs for the Pentagon and other defense-related agencies, is pending Obama’s approval.
“China resolutely opposes any country selling arms to Taiwan,” Hua said. “We urge US Congress … to abandon the Cold War mentality for the sake of regional peace and stability and to abide by the principles of the three Sino-US joint communiques.”
In addition, Beijing “earnestly” called on the US to “respect China’s core interests and to act more in ways that are conducive to peace and stability of the region,” while doing more to promote US relations that encourage “stable development and the peaceful development of cross-strait relations — not the opposite,” she told reporters during a question-and-answer session.
In a commentary last week, Xinhua news agency said the Obama administration should reject any language in the act that risks undermining bilateral relations with China “to help foster a new type of relationship based on mutual respect and benefit.”
The proposal to sell F-16s to Taiwan represents “blunt interference in China’s internal affairs” and “breaks previous pledges made by the US to phase out arms sales to the island,” Xinhua reported, omitting the provisions outlined in the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.
As the balance of air power in the Taiwan Strait shifts in Beijing’s favor, Taipei has been seeking to procure 66 F-16C/Ds from the US since 2007, but has made little progress.
Despite a US$5.2 billion upgrade package for its existing 145 F-16A/Bs, Taiwan will soon decommission its aging F-5s and some of its Mirage 2000s, which will further exacerbate the imbalance in both quantitative and qualitative terms. Supporters of the F-16 sale maintain that the modern aircraft are essential for Taiwan to defend its airspace.
China has long opposed the sale of advanced aircraft to Taiwan and says that crossing the “red line” would have serious consequences for relations between Beijing and Washington.
Turning to the Diaoyutais, Hua said China’s position on the disputed islands was “consistent and clear.”
“The Diaoyu Islands have been Chinese territory since ancient times,” she said, adding that the US-Japan Security Treaty only applied to a specific period and “should not harm the interests of third parties, including China, and should not draw the US into territorial disputes.”
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
FEW REMAIN: Conservationists tried to stop the demolition, but to no avail, and the owner cannot be fined, as the structure was not listed as a historical building One of the few remaining Japanese colonial-era granaries in Taiwan was dismantled by its owner on Friday, prompting outrage from conservationists. The granary, which was at No. 16, Lane 11, Hangzhou S Rd Sec 1 in Taipei, belonged to Taiwan Takushoku Corp during the colonial era, conservationist Chang Wan-lin (張琬琳) said, adding that she and others had been collecting information to reapply to have the building protected as a historical structure. During the colonial era, the granary served the area from Monga (艋舺) to what is now Songshan District (松山) in the north, she said. “Back then the eastern part
SEEING THE POSITIVE: A majority of respondents in Taiwan said that they favored Trump because they think Taiwan-US ties would improve with him Among eight Asia-Pacific countries and regions, only Taiwan prefers US President Donald Trump over his challenger, former US vice president Joe Biden, in the upcoming US presidential election, a survey released on Thursday showed. According to the poll published by UK-based market research firm YouGov, 42 percent of Taiwanese favor Trump in the Nov. 3 election, while 30 percent back Biden and 28 percent have no opinion. In contrast, respondents in Malaysia favor Biden over Trump 62 percent to 9 percent, and in Singapore by 66 percent to 12 percent, the survey showed. Biden also led Trump in Australia (60 percent to 21
TROUBLEMAKER: The missiles, capable of striking up to 2,000km away, would likely be used to deter other nations from coming to Taiwan’s aid, a legislator said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has reportedly deployed advanced hypersonic missiles along China’s southeast coast, which Taiwan’s missile defense system might have difficulty intercepting, an analyst said yesterday. Citing an unnamed military source, the South China Morning Post said that the missile bases on the coasts of China’s Fujian and Zhejiang provinces have been upgraded and are stocked with DF-17 missiles, equipped with hypersonic glide vehicles. “The DF-17 hypersonic missile will gradually replace the old DF-11s and DF-15s that were deployed in the southeast region for decades,” said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. “The
AIR CONTROL INCIDENT: The Hong Kong side said it ‘cannot accept this aircraft,’ ordering it to ascend to an unsafe altitude and forcing it to return to Kaohsiung The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) on Friday disclosed a full transcript of the communications between Taiwanese and Hong Kong air traffic controllers, rebutting the latter’s claim that a Taiwanese plane had voluntarily abandoned its flight path. Hong Kong denied permission for the plane to proceed to the disputed Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島), which are claimed by both Taiwan and China, the CAA said. The incident happened on Thursday when a civil aircraft chartered by the military was advised by Hong Kong air traffic controllers to not enter the airspace over a group of islands in the South China Sea