Jan 29 07:19 PM US/Eastern
China on Friday protested the US decision to sell 6.4 billion dollars in weapons to Taiwan and warned of "serious" damage to relations and cooperation with Washington.
China's Vice Foreign Minister He Yafai made an urgent official demarche to the US ambassador in Beijing, Jon Huntsman, in the early hours Saturday local time, Wang Baodong, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, told AFP.
"The latest US move to sell weapons to Taiwan, which is part of China, constitutes a gross intervention into China's internal affairs, seriously endangers China's national security and harms China's peaceful reunification efforts," Wang quoted the protest as saying.
"The US plan will definitely undermine China-US relations and bring about serious negative impact on exchange and cooperation in major areas between the two countries," he added.
China "strongly urges the US side to fully recognize the gravity of the issue, revoke the erroneous decision on arms sales to Taiwan and stop selling any weapons to Taiwan," he said.
China snapped off military relations with the United States temporarily after the last US arms package to Taiwan in October 2008.
Beijing considers Taiwan, where China's nationalists fled in 1949 after losing the mainland's civil war, to be a territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
The United States in 1979 switched recognition to Beijing. But Congress requires the administration to provide Taiwan weapons for defensive purposes.
Wang said that the weapons deal violated the 1982 communique between China and the United States, which said the arms sales to Taiwan "will not exceed, in qualitative or in quantitative terms," the level in the years before that.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley earlier said that the arms sales were consistent with the three key communiques between the United States and China when they normalized relations.