China stresses Taiwan issues at talks

June 24, 2009 at 11:02 PM
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BEIJING, June 24 (UPI) -- China says obstacles such as U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan have hampered the development of comprehensive Sino-U.S. military relations.

The two sides Wednesday ended their 10th annual Defense Consultative Talks in Beijing. The talks were restarted after an 18-month suspension over China's objection to U.S. plans to sell $6.5 billion of arms to Taiwan during President George W. Bush's administration.

"The development of Sino-U.S. military ties has not been very smooth and still faces some obstacles," Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said during a meeting with Michele Flournoy, the under-secretary of defense for policy who led the U.S. delegation.

The obstacles included U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan, Xinhua reported.

"We hope the United States would take substantial measures to remove the barriers that hinder our military relations," Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, was quoted as saying.

China and Taiwan have had separate governments for six decades, but the Communist country has never relinquished its sovereign claims over the island.

On Taiwan, Flournoy was quoted as saying there was "tremendous consistency over time." The U.S. official also said the new administration remains committed to its one-China policy, Xinhua said.

Flournoy said the administration of President Barack Obama wants a new framework for U.S.-China military relations to translate common interests into concrete actions and expand areas of security cooperation, Xinhua reported.

A Chinese Defense Ministry news release said while China remains opposed to U.S. planes and ships entering what it claims as its exclusive economic zone, it was willing to discuss related issues with the U.S. side.

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