BEIJING, March 7 (UPI) -- The United States should stop selling arms to Taiwan in the interest of its relations with Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Monday.
Speaking to reporters during the annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, Yang said his government firmly opposes these sales to Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory, although the two have had separate governments since 1949.
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama last year approved an arms sales package of more than $6 billion to Taiwan over strenuous objections from China.
"We urge the United States to strictly abide by the principles and spirits of the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques and the China-U.S. joint Statement," Yang said in his call to stop the arms sales.
He said Washington should "take concrete actions to support the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations (between China and Taiwan)" and uphold overall interests of Sino-U.S. relations considering there is now "good atmosphere" between them, Xinhua reported.
"What is important is to properly handle these differences on the basis of mutual respect," the state-run news agency quoted him as saying.
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