[Letters] Arms sale sours ties
Uncle Sam’s $6.4 billion arms package to equip Taiwan, including Patriot antimissile systems, Black Hawk helicopters and Harpoon missiles, reminds us how grudgingly Washington sees China’s rise and its unwillingness to see compatriots across the Straits live in peace.
The Taiwan question is closely related to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, its core national interests and the national sentiment of 1.3 billion Chinese people. But more than 20 years after the end of the Cold War, the U.S. is still bent on integrating Taiwan into its defense strategy in Asia, and still dreaming of using the island as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” to contain China’s growth.
We have to forget the pledge that “the United States does not seek to contain China” made by Barack Obama when he was warmly welcomed in Beijing just two months ago. Sincerity is subject to proof of action, not mere words.
The U.S. promised in a joint communique signed on Aug. 17, 1982 - which forms the cornerstone of Sino-U.S. relations ?? that “it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan”. It also pledged that Washington “intends to reduce gradually its sales of arms to Taiwan, leading over a period of time to a final resolution.” But how many times has Washington trashed its words for the sake of expediency or other ulterior motives? For the world’s only superpower, it now seems that a promise is not a promise.
China’s response, no matter how vehement, is justified. No country worthy of respect can sit idle while its national security is endangered and core interests damaged.
The U.S. decision not only runs counter to the common dream of pursuing development and cooperation among the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, but also exposes the U.S.’s usage of double standards and hypocrisy on major issues related to China’s core interests.
Compared with the U.S., China is still weak, both economically and militarily. The countermeasures that China has taken ?? ranging from repeated protests to plans to halt military exchanges and punish U.S. companies involved in the arms sale ?? may not be forceful enough to compel Washington to mend its ways. But a message has to be sent loud and clear: If the U.S. shows no respect to China’s core interests, it cannot expect cooperation from China on a wide range of major regional and international issues. China must make sure that it means what it says. China Daily, Feb. 1