China said it will suspend military exchanges and security talks with the United States and threatens to halt cooperation on other issues because of the U.S. plan to sell arms to rival Taiwan.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Saturday and warned of "serious repercussions" on U.S-China relations from Washington's decision to sell $6.4 billion worth of military equipment to Taiwan.
He said that Beijing considered the decision, announced Friday, as an interference in its domestic affairs and that it could jeopardize Sino-U.S. cooperation on international and regional issues. China and the U.S., for example, have been working together in international efforts to get North Korea and Iran to give up their nuclear programs.
Jin Canrong, international relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing said China will certainly make the U.S pay for its weapon sales to Taiwan more than before. He said eventually, the U.S will not be able to endure the price of their action.
In addition, Beijing also threatened to impose sanctions on U.S. companies that sell military equipment to Taiwan.
China has always opposed any U.S. arms sale to rival Taiwan, but its reaction Saturday is one of the toughest in recent years. In 2008, it also cut off military ties with the U.S. after a similar deal.
Under the Taiwan Relations Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1979, the U.S. promised to help defend the island.
The latest arms package includes Black Hawk helicopters, advanced Patriot surface-to-air missiles and two refurbished Osprey-class mine-hunting ships but does not contain F-16 fighter jets requested by Taiwan.
Meanwhile in Taiwan, President Ma Ying-jeou said the weapons sale decision will help Taiwan's defenses and be an "effective deterrence" that would allow Taiwan to have more confidence and a sense of security. The sale comes amid improving Cross-Strait relations, with increased economic ties between the two rivals.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory which must be eventually reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.
The United States has a treaty commitment to help the island with defense.
The U.S. Congress has 30 days to comment on the proposed sale before it becomes finalized.