Page last updated at 10:02 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

China accuses US of arrogance over Taiwan deal

Taiwanese soldier in a Taiwan-made CM-11 tank
Taiwan says the arms deal will make it feel more secure

China's state media has accused the United States of "arrogance" and "double standards" in pursuing arms sales to Taiwan.

The state-run China Daily and the Global Times also warned that China's threats of retaliation were real.

The Obama administration approved the $6.4bn arms sale to Taiwan last week.

China has warned of "serious harm" to relations between the two powers, the suspension of military contact and sanctions against the firms involved.

The US has said it will go ahead with the sale anyway.

'Cold war thinking'

China's state media said President Barack Obama must have been "insincere" when he promised not to "contain" China.

Cindy Sui
Cindy Sui, BBC News, Taipei

Despite dramatically improved ties with China in the past year, Taiwan's 23 million people still face a very real military threat from Beijing.

China has more than 1,000 missiles targeted at Taiwan and has not renounced the use of force to take back the island.

Over the years, Beijing has steadily outspent Taiwan in weapons acquisition, tipping the balance of military power greatly in China's favour. It now has advanced fighter planes and submarines that Taiwan lacks.

This new arms package merely helps Taipei narrow slightly the military gap between itself and Beijing.

The US move "exposes [its] usage of double standards and hypocrisy on major issues related to China's core interests," the China Daily said.

"Washington's arrogance also reflects the stark reality of how a nation's interests could be trampled upon by another," it added.

The Global Times, which is run by the People's Daily, the Communist Party's propaganda mouthpiece, said: "It's time the US was made to feel the heat for the continuing arms sales to Taiwan.

"It would be folly to underestimate Chinese unity over the Taiwan question. Punishing companies that sell weapons to Taiwan is a move that would be supported by most Chinese."

The People's Daily said in a commentary that the arms sales showed Washington's "rude and unreasonable Cold War thinking".

"When it comes down to it, the United States is still drawing lines based on ideology and coming up with a million ways to stymie China's development and progress," the paper's overseas edition said.

One China?

Taiwan has been ruled by a separate government from China since the end of the civil war in 1949, but China still considers the island to be part of its territory.

Ruled by separate governments since end of Chinese civil war in 1949
China considers the island part of its territory
China has offered a "one country, two systems" solution, like Hong Kong
Most people in Taiwan support status quo
Relations between Beijing and Taipei have been improving in recent years since the pro-Beijing President Ma Ying-jeou took power in Taiwan

Beijing has more than 1,000 missiles pointed at Taiwan and has threatened to use force to bring it under its control if the island moves towards formal independence.

Defence ties between Washington and Beijing have been on ice for several years because of differences over Taiwan, though the two countries' leaders pledged to improve them in 2009.

The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but it remains Taiwan's biggest ally and is obliged by the Taiwan Relations Act to help in the island's defence.

The US State Department said on Saturday that the weapons sale contributed to "security and stability" between Taiwan and China.

But China said the row would endanger co-operation with the US on "key international and regional issues."

Ties between the US and China are already strained by rows over trade and internet censorship.

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