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Arms Sales to Taiwan Violate Agreements

The latest decision by the United States to sell arms to Taiwan is a serious violation of bilateral agreements.

The US should be responsible for the consequences of its breach of commitments.

The George W. Bush administration yesterday sanctioned a slew of weapons for sale ranging from four Kidd-class destroyers to be ready by 2003, 12 P-3C Orion aircraft and eight diesel submarines to MH-53E minesweeping helicopters, Avenger surface-to-air missile system, and submarine-launched and surface-launched torpedoes.

The US inflammatory decision, following the mid-air collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese jet fighter on April 1, should put the Bush administration's commitment to the one-China policy in doubt.

On April 20, the United States granted former Taiwan "president" Lee Teng-hui, an infamous separatist, a visa to visit the country in May, the second one for the wire-puller behind Taiwan's pro-independence.

Ignoring the three Sino-US joint communiques, which set out the guidelines on how to handle the Taiwan question, the US has driven a wedge into already frayed bilateral relations and would further whip up tension across the Taiwan Straits.

There have been hardly any political breakthroughs in cross-Straits relations in recent years.

In 1995 President Jiang Zemin made an eight-point statement on the peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question.

The statement reaffirms the consistent, firm stance of the Chinese Government that there is only one China, and Taiwan is an integral part of China. Negotiations for the peaceful reunification of the country should be based on this unshakable premise.

Calling for peaceful reunification, Jiang said "Chinese should not fight fellow Chinese."

This is a most clear-cut and straightforward stance. And the statement is also marked by flexibility.

The Chinese Government's goodwill move towards a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question should not be mistaken as a weakness, for its determination to reunify the country is the aspiration of every Chinese.

US military support, which is encouraged by the Taiwan Relations Act for legalizing arms sales to Taiwan, has instigated pro-independence forces in Taiwan and sown seeds of troubles in the Asia-Pacific region.

Selling more advanced weapons to the island is tantamount to restoring the military alliance between Taiwan and the United States.

The Bush administration should be aware of the gravity of its arms sales to Taiwan, which could destroy the premise for Sino-US relations.

We can smell the McCarthy style of the provocative stance the Bush administration and some hawkish US politicians have taken in the past weeks.

While the United States asserted that it would continue spying on China's borders, some Pentagon warmongering officials have recommended that their government protect the EP-3Es with fighter escorts.

In their eyes, the United States holds most of the cards when dealing with China: global military supremacy; a strong influence upon international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the International Olympics Committee; and the power to choose which international laws and treaties to apply.

These cards are for sure quite big. US politicians, however, should know that the cards can be of little weight when forced on countries like China by employing threats. The arms sales provocation will only elicit a strong reaction from the Chinese people.

There has been friction and conflict between China and the United States. There is no real reason to wonder about these negative things if the vast differences between the two giant nations in terms of historical background and present reality are taken into account.

The lesson is that whenever differences arise in certain fields, the parties involved should not throw a tantrum too soon and make blackmailing utterances in an imperious tone.

A full-blown deadlock between the two countries would do no good to the United States.

When promising to maintain the adherence to the one-China policy, the US should make their deeds square with their words. It must keep its hands off Taiwan.

(China Daily 04/25/2001)

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