Arms sales to Taiwan remain 'biggest' obstacle to China-U.S. military ties

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A senior Chinese military official said Tuesday that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan remain the biggest obstacle to China-U.S. military ties.

At the request of the U.S., Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army made the remarks when meeting with U.S. Commander-in-Chief of Pacific Command Robert Willard and Wallace Gregson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, who are attending the second round of China-U.S. strategic and economic dialogues in Beijing.

The meeting was the first high-ranking military talks between the two sides since China in January partially halted military exchange programs between the two countries in protest over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

Ma said the arms sales, frequent reconnaissance by the U.S. naval ships and aircraft in the waters and airspace of China's exclusive economic zones, and some laws have long remained the foremost obstacles to stable China-U.S. military relations.

The U.S. Congress passed bills limiting military exchanges with China, as represented by the 2000 Fiscal Year Defense Authorization Law.

"The U.S. side should be fully responsible for the prevention of the growth of China-U.S. military relations," he said.

U.S. respect for China's core interests and major concerns was the key to the resumption of sound and steadily developing bilateral military ties, Ma said.

The United States was expected to show sincerity in addressing major and sensitive issues, including arms sales to Taiwan and reconnaissance by the U.S. naval ships and aircraft in China, to create conditions for the resumption and healthy development of China-U.S. military ties, Ma said.

Ma said China always attaches importance to mutual trust and cooperation in the military field with the United States and was willing to conduct exchanges and cooperation with the U.S. side in the principle of respect, equality, mutual trust, and reciprocity.

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