Sales of advanced and high-tech weapons to Taiwan by the new administration of US President George W. Bush will greatly damage Sino-US relations, according to a leading Chinese expert on Taiwan affairs.
The Bush team is due to make a decision next month on the annual arms provision to Taiwan. On the top of Taiwan's shopping-list are sophisticated weapons such as destroyers equipped with the AEGIS satellite anti-missile system.
"If the United States makes a misjudgment and gives more military support to Taiwan's political adventurism, cross-Straits ties and Sino-American relations will surely experience significant changes," warned Xin Qi, a research fellow with China's Peace and Development Research Centre, in a signed article that lists three reasons for the concern.
First, since Taiwan has already acquired weapons for a TMD (Theatre Missile Defence) system, selling more advanced weapons to the island is tantamount to restoring the military alliance between Taiwan and the United States.
This would greatly threaten the continuation of good Sino-American relations.
Second, the United States has interfered in China's internal affairs with the Taiwan Relations Act, which legalizes arms sales to the island.
The US military intervention has encouraged pro-independence forces in Taiwan and thus sown seeds of trouble in the Asia-Pacific region.
Third, if the new US government goes ahead with its foreign policy of viewing China as a strategic competitor as compared to a "strategic partner," which is what the Clinton administration saw China as, China will be forced to respond by making policy adjustments.
The research fellow's warning echoed the views of several high-ranking Chinese officials who have urged the United States to scrap its arms sales to the island.
(China Daily 03/12/2001)