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
Two people were killed and another nine injured yesterday after being stung by hornets while hiking in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), with officials warning against wearing perfume or straying from trails during the autumn to avoid the potentially deadly creatures. Seven of the hikers only sustained minor injuries after being stung along the Bafenliao Hiking Trail (八分寮) and made their way down the mountain with a guide, the New Taipei City Fire Department said. Four of them — all male — sustained more serious injuries and were assisted when leaving the mountain, the department said. Two of them, a man surnamed
Recent movements by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been “highly unusual,” but the military maintains a grasp of the situation, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said on Friday, after the military for the first time said it was monitoring troop movements in China’s Dacheng Bay (大埕灣). The minister gave the remarks to reporters before appearing at the legislature on the first day of its new session. The Ministry of National Defense on Thursday evening released an air force surveillance photograph of a PLA Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, and said it was monitoring the PLA Rocket Force and ground
‘ABNORMITY’: News of the military exercises on the coast of the Chinese province facing Taiwan were made public by the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday Taiwan’s military yesterday said it has detected the Chinese military initiating a round of exercises at a bay area in coastal Fujian Province, which faces Taiwan, since early yesterday morning and it has been closely monitoring the drills. The exercises being conducted at Fujian’s Dacheng Bay featured an undisclosed number of People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) warplanes, warships and ground troops, the Ministry of National Defense said in a press statement. The ministry did not disclose what kind of military exercises are being conducted there and for how long they would be happening, but it did say that it has been closely watching
China’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has asked foreign consulates in Hong Kong to submit details of their local staff, which is more proof that the “one country, two systems” model no longer exists, a Taiwanese academic said. The office sent letters dated Monday last week to consulates in the territory, giving them one month to submit the information it requires. The move followed Beijing’s attempt to obtain floor plans for all properties used by foreign missions in Hong Kong last year, which raised concerns among diplomats that the information could be used for