China issues warning over US arms sales to Taiwan

Contacts with China'smilitary would likely be the first to suffer if Beijing moves toretaliate over upcoming US arms sales to Taiwan — the latest in aflurry of disputes elevating tensions between Washington and Beijing.

ForeignMinistry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu warned that the Obama administrationrisked damaging ties with China if it proceeds with the arms packagedeal, which is likely to include Black Hawk helicopters and Patriotmissiles.

"Once again, we urge the US side to recognize thesensitivity of weapon sales to Taiwan and its gravity," Ma toldreporters Tuesday at a regularly scheduled news conference. He saidfailure to halt the sales would "impair the larger interests ofChina-US cooperation."

Ma's comments were echoed Wednesday bythe Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office which handles contacts with Taiwan,considered by Beijing to be a breakaway province.

"Our stance ofopposing arms sales to Taiwan by any country is consistent and clear,"spokesman Yang Yi said. "We feel that advancing the peacefuldevelopment of cross-strait relations is the only real way to benefitTaiwan's peace and stability."