China protests U.S. defense bill

Updated 2016-12-27 09:28:45 China Daily

China lodged a protest with the United States for signing a defense act that included a call for senior military exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"We are resolutely against the Taiwan-related section in the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, and have lodged solemn representations with the U.S.," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news conference.

Part of the 8.7 billion National Defense Authorization Act directs the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct a program of senior military exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan, Reuters reported.

Noting that the Taiwan question has a bearing on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Hua said that "China will by no means accept" the stipulation of the U.S. defense act.

"Although the Taiwan-related content in the U.S. act has no legal binding force, it severely violates the three joint communiques and interferes with China's domestic affairs," she said, adding that China urges the U.S. to end military exchanges with and weapons sales to Taiwan. The three communiques were crucial agreements in the normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.

Hua praised the recent remarks by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser to former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. Brzezinski told WorldPost-a partnership between online news aggregator Huffington Post and independent think tank the Berggruen Institute-last week that "a world in which America and China are cooperating is a world in which American influence is maximized".

"It is not in our interest to antagonize Beijing," Brzezinski was quoted as saying. He criticized the phone call between U.S. president-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen on Dec 2 as "a pointless irritant".

"Cooperation is the only right choice between China and the U.S.," Hua said, adding that the two countries should adhere to the principle of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and cooperation for win-win results.

Tang Shao-cheng, a research fellow in the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University in Taipei, said that although the U.S. defense act looks like a measure that is friendly toward Taiwan, it is hard to say whether it would benefit Taiwan.

Taiwan is a valuable chip for the U.S. to curb the rise of the Chinese mainland, Tang wrote in an article in the Taipei-based China Times, noting that it was Tsai's refusal to accept the 1992 Consensus, which establishes the one-China policy, that led to the island's self-limitation.

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