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Asia-Pacific
China warns US over strained ties
China blames tense relations on US, warning it against further arms sales to Taiwan.
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2010 08:47 GMT
Beijing regards arms sales to self-ruled Taiwan as interference in China's internal affairs [Reuters]

China's military has warned the United States to "speak and act cautiously" to avoid further straining relations between the two countries, particularly over the issue of arms sales to Taiwan.

The warning, carried on state media on Thursday, also said that China stood firm on its decision to suspend a series of military exchanges in protest at a recent $6.4bn arms deal with the self-ruled island.

"The US side bears full responsibility for the current difficulties in exchanges between the Chinese and US militaries," Huang Xueping, a defence ministry spokesman, was quoted as saying.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province and views any outside contact with its government, particularly on defence or military issues, as interference in China's internal affairs.

"The Chinese side urges the US side to speak and act cautiously to avoid further damage to bilateral relations and peaceful cross-strait development," Huang said.

On Wednesday, a Pentagon spokesman said that several planned exchanges had been cancelled, including a visit to the United States by China's chief of the general staff, and a trip to China by the head of the US Pacific Command.

Sino-US ties have been rocky since US internet giant Google said last month it was considering shutting down its Chinese-language search engine and ending its China operations over cyber attacks and online censorship.

'Baseless'

Google has said it believes those attacks originated in China, and recent reports claim they had been traced back to two schools, one of which is linked to the Chinese military.

The Dalai Lama's recent visit to the US has also strained relations [AFP]
In his comments on Thursday however, Huang called the accusations "baseless and irresponsible", adding they had been "hyped up for ulterior motives".

The recent meeting between the US president and the Dalai Lama has also angered China, prompting Beijing to demand that Washington take urgent steps to "undo the damage done".

The meeting last week between Barack Obama and the Tibetan spiritual leader had already prompted Beijing to summon the US ambassador.

"China demands that the US side seriously regard China's position and take credible measures to undo the damage done," Qin Gang, a foreign ministry spokesman told reporters earlier this week.

He also urged Washington to "take concrete measures to uphold the sound development of China-US relations", reiterating that they had been "seriously affected" by the Dalai Lama's visit.

Source:
Agencies
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