Beijing has suspended visits between the Chinese and US armed forces in protest at Washington’s plan to sell weapons worth $6.4 billion to Taiwan, state media said on Saturday.
The defence ministry official in charge of foreign affairs, Qian Lihua, had summoned the US Embassy in Beijing’s defence attache on Saturday afternoon to complain about the arms deal, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Defence officials were not immediately available for comment and the agency did not provide further details.
Deputy foreign minister He Yafei had said in a statement the arms deal was “bound to damage Sino-US relations, bringing about negative impact on exchange and cooperation in major areas between the two countries, causing results that both sides do not want to see”.
The US on Friday approved the sale of an arms package that includes Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters, and communications equipment for Taiwan’s F-16 fleet.
The last US arms package for Taiwan, announced under previous president George W. Bush in October 2008, led China to cut off military relations with the US temporarily.
The latest move constituted “crude interference in China’s internal affairs that seriously endangers China’s national security and damages China’s peaceful reunification”, He said.
China considers Taiwan, where nationalists fled in 1949 after losing the mainland’s civil war, to be a territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. It had warned Washington repeatedly against the arms sales.