China freezes US military ties, sanctions arms firms

BEIJING : China said Saturday it was suspending military exchanges and security talks with Washington and would impose sanctions on US firms involved in a deal to sell arms to Taiwan.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that in protest at the US decision on weapons sales to Taiwan it was suspending military exchanges, along with scheduled high-level talk on strategic security, arms control and non-proliferation.

“Cooperation between China and the US on key international and regional issue will also inevitably be affected,” the ministry said.

In addition, China will introduce sanctions specifically targeting the US manufacturers who are part of the deal, the statement said.

“China will also implement relevant sanctions on US companies involved in the arms sales to Taiwan,” the ministry said.

Washington 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 United States temporarily. AFP

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