World

U.S. arms sale to Taiwan certain to rile China

The U.S. government has announced plans to sell billions of dollars worth of weapons to Taiwan, a move certain to anger China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory.

The U.S. government has announced plans to sell billions of dollars worth of weapons to Taiwan, a move certain to anger China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory.

The weapons include Apache helicopters and Patriot III anti-missile missiles.

Since easily winning the election as president of Taiwan in March, Ma Ying-jeou has carefully avoided open confrontation with the Chinese government in Beijing.

Ma, 57, promised during his campaign to deepen economic links with the mainland and negotiate a new peace treaty. Technically, both sides have been at war since the Kuomintang, Ma's party fled to Taiwan led by Chiang Kai-shek in 1949.

"Under my presidency, there will be peace and prosperity across the Taiwan Strait instead of confrontation and tension,'' Ma told the Bloomberg news agency in an interview shortly before his election.

Ma's bottom line for a peace treaty is that Beijing has to get rid of the 1,000 or so missiles it has aimed at Taiwan.

Taiwan relies on the U.S. weapons to keep a balance with China's massive arms buildup.

The government in Beijing has also made it clear it doesn't want to pick open fights with Taiwan.

In fact, Premier Wen Jia Bao said in March that direct flights, business co-operation — everything is on the table. Then Wen delivered the same old catch: Anything is achievable, so long as Taiwan recognizes there is one China.

With files from the Associated Press