BEIJING - China’s defense minister on Tuesday urged the United States to stop a bill that reaffirms commitment to Taiwan and calls for continued arms sales to the island.
“China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposes the U.S. House of Representatives passage of a Taiwan-related bill,” Chang Wanquan told reporters after his talks with U.S. counterpart Chuck Hagel on Tuesday.
Chang’s comments came after the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill that reaffirms the importance of the Taiwan Relations Act and the House’s unwavering commitment to Taiwan, and calls on the Obama administration to sell Perry-class frigates to Taiwan.
“U.S. arms sales to Taiwan seriously violate the three China-U.S. joint communiques, particularly the principles specified in the August 17 Communique,” Chang said.
Under this 1982 agreement, the United States agreed to gradually reduce its arms sales to Taiwan.
“We urge the U.S. Congress to stop promoting any Taiwan-related bills and the government to prevent the Congress from reviewing the bill,” Chang said, adding this can help avoid undermining China-U.S. relations and cross-Strait peaceful development.
“China-U.S.competition is not zero-sum,” he added, calling on the two countries to avoid the past confrontations between major powers.
Chang said China and the United States should take a brand-new view of bilateral relations and seek cooperation and common prosperity.
“The two countries should first avoid conflict or confrontation in the military sector,” Chang said, stressing he and Hagel, both as veterans with war experience, have deep knowledge of dangers resulting from wars.
“As leaders of defense departments, we have the responsibility to do something to avoid conflict or confrontation,” said Chang.
Hagel arrived in Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province on Monday for his first China visit as U.S. defense chief. He visited China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier on Monday afternoon.