US puts arms sales to Taiwan on hold as goodwill gesture to China

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 30, 2010 12:30 hrs

The US is holding back arms sales to Taiwan due to effective lobbying from the Chinese mainland.

"Arms sales are on hold until at least the spring of 2011, Taiwan is still waiting for upgrades to its F-16A/B planes, and its request for 66 F-16C/D fighter aircraft has been on hold since 2006," The China Daily quoted Rupert Hammond Chambers, President of the US-Taiwan Business Council, as saying.

"The Chinese are ramping up the pressure and engaging us in disinformation to complicate our review, particularly in the context of a vulnerable process for arms sales," a Washington defense analyst said.

In recent years, arms sales to Taiwan have worsened bilateral ties between China and the US, and the majority of Chinese do not believe that such arms sales would come to an immediate stop.

According to the paper, Sun Zhe, a professor with Beijing based Tsinghua University said neither Washington nor Taipei have any intention of permanently doing away with arms sales.

"China should have two strings to its bow and we need more effective and strategic counter measures," he added.

Meanwhile, Li Daguang, a military specialist with the University of National Defense, has said that the move was a sign of goodwill from the US, as with the rise of China's international position, the former should be more flexible on issues concerning China's core interests.

In an indication that military dialogue was critical to better ties, Obama told Hu that the US was looking forward to an invitation for a visit to Beijing by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in the coming months. (ANI)