Wednesday, 03 February 2010

China May Sanction U.S. Arms Sellers

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VOA News reported on February 2 that the Chinese government has expressed anger over a nearly $6.5 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan that was announced in Washington on January 29. The report cited Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu, who warned that the sale will hurt Chinese-American relations andand could lead to what he described as "unwelcome consequences."

Ma said that China intends to pass sanctions on the U.S. companies involved in the sale of arms to Taiwan, but he declined to name any companies or specify the exact nature of the sanctions.

VOA also cited another grievance mentioned by Ma: He said China is dissatisfied with the U.S. Defense Department's recently released Quadrennial Defense Review — an analysis of strategic objectives and potential military threats to the United States. The report noted China's recent military build-up, and cited China’s “lack of transparency,” raising questions about the communist-ruled nation’s intentions.

Ma described the report’s comments about China as clichés and said that his nation’s defense buildup is normal. He also says the U.S. report interferes in China's internal affairs and says it will mislead public opinion.

In another statement quoted by AP, Ma said: “The U.S., heedless of China's resolute opposition, insisted on announcing its arms sales package to Taiwan. This seriously damages China's core interests, as well as China-U.S. relations."

Ma said the sale would "inevitably affect China-U.S. cooperation on international and regional issues."

A report on China’s potential sanctions against U.S. companies was released on February 2 by Xinhua, the official Chinese news service. It complained that several U.S. companies involved in what it termed “a major arms sale to Taiwan” have “remained silent or given evasive comments on China's sanction warning.”

Xinhua reported that Beijing has given “an unprecedented sanctions warning” to companies involved in the arms sale, mentioning U.S. defense contractors Boeing, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon as potential targets of sanctions.

"If the U.S. side does not change the arms sale decision, China will turn the sanctions warning into action," the report quoted Prof. Tan Kaijia, identified as an arms expert with the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army.

Tan said the U.S. announcement of the arms sales revealed the pragmatic nature of U.S. diplomacy, noting: "Those companies are arms dealers, some of them make fortunes by doing business with both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Economic sanctions perhaps is the best way to make them choose between arms sale profit and the Chinese market."

In response to the Chinese announcement, Boeing's vice president for marketing, Randy Tinseth, made a statement to reporters on the sidelines of the Singapore Air Show that was quoted by AFP: "This a government-to-government issue.... These types of sales are between governments and we cannot control them. I believe it's too early to speculate on what the impact might be to the industry and to us,"

Similar sentiments were expressed at the Singapore Air Show by Marion Blakey, chief executive of the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents U.S. firms in the civil and military sectors: "Those discussions are really left best to government to government, and we will certainly see that they undoubtedly will discuss the ramifications, but there is nothing really unusual about this. I think it's the sort of things that the governments will work out together.”

AFP also summarized the specific products that will be sold to Taiwan: McDonnell Douglas will sell Harpoon missiles; Lockheed Martin will provide Patriot anti-missile batteries, and Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies, will supply Black Hawk helicopters.

In addition to their dissatisfaction with the scheduled sale of U.S. arms to Taiwan, Chinese officials have also issued stern statements protesting the possible meeting of the anti-communist Dalai Lama with President Obama this month. A report in The Australian observed: “China has heaped further pressure on Barack Obama by warning that a meeting with the Dalai Lama this month will ‘seriously undermine the political foundation of Sino-US relations.’ ”

The report quoted Zhu Weiqun, the deputy chief of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front work department, who directed a stern warning to the United States on February 2 following failed talks with envoys of the Dalai Lama over the previous weekend.

While no meeting between the exiled Tibetan Buddhist religious leader and the United States have been officially announced, Zhu said "there is no room for negotiation or concession on the part of the central government" on the core issues related the future of Tibet, only on the personal role of the Dalai Lama himself. "If the U.S. leader chooses to meet with the Dalai Lama at this time, it will certainly threaten trust and co-operation between China and the United States," said Zhu.

These tensions between China and the United States come on the heels of statements made by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Paris on January 29, when Clinton said that she and other diplomats are lobbying China to back new UN sanctions against Iran because of Iran's refusal to meet Western demands for more transparency in conducting its nuclear program

“China will be under a lot of pressure to recognize the destabilizing effect that a nuclear-armed Iran would have” in the Persian Gulf, “from which they receive a significant percentage of their oil supply,” Clinton said at École Militaire, a French war college.

These latest diplomatic tensions between the United States and China are replete with ironies, because they all stem from a failed 60-years-plus U.S. foreign policy that betrayed freedom-loving Asians to the communists. China now protests U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan, because it claims the island nation as part of its own territory. Yet the government of the Republic of China, which once governed most of China, was forced to flee to Taiwan in 1949 after the communist leader Mao Zedong captured all of the mainland, not in free elections, but through use of his oft-quoted philosophy: "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun."

And if possessing guns was not sufficient for Mao to gain power, betrayal was.

The communist rebel forces under Mao, which had been supplied by the Soviet Union with arms from a stash of Japanese weapons left in Manchuria after World War II, were well equipped to wrest control of the mainland from the anti-communist, pro-American Chinese leader, Chiang Kai-shek.

Chiang's forces, in contrast, had been denied weapons through an embargo declared by General George Marshall of the United States. Marshall boasted of having disarmed 39 of Chiang's divisions "with a stroke of his pen."

Finally in 1949, unable to continue the fight, and with China in economic collapse brought on by the communists' destruction of the nation's infrastructure, Chiang Kai-shek led his battered forces across the Formosa Strait to Taiwan and relocated the government of the Republic of China to the island.

The United States only compounded this betrayal of the government of the Republic of China (which it had recognized as the sole and legitimate government of China since 1911) when, on January 1, 1979, the U.S. changed its diplomatic recognition of Chinese government from the Republic of China on Taiwan to the communist People’s republic of China.

Having once betrayed our Chinese friends, then embracing our enemies (since all communists are committed to destroying every nation that embraces freedom), is it any wonder that the Chinese have so little respect for us?

Maybe the approximately $1 trillion in U.S. debt that the communist Chinese government holds also has something to do with their cocky stance. (See: “Will China Dump U.S. Debt?”)

Photo of Republic of China (Taiwan) Defense Ministry spokesman Yu Sy-tue: AP Image

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