China Warns US Over
Protecting Taiwan
With 'Missile Umbrella'

BEIJING (Reuters) - An official Chinese newspaper on Wednesday warned of an unprecedented setback to Sino-U.S. relations if Taiwan were integrated under an Asia-Pacific missile defense umbrella.
"Should the United States bring Taiwan into its proposed anti-missile scheme, Sino-U.S. relations would suffer a setback unprecedented since the normalization of bilateral ties," the China Daily said, quoting international affairs analysts in Beijing.
Washington switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taipei in 1979.
Beijing has regarded Taiwan as a rebel province since the Communists won the Chinese civil war and drove the defeated Nationalists into exile on the island in 1949.
The theatre missile defense (TMD) was an "extension of efforts to contain China militarily," said Jian Taojie, a researcher with the Center for Peace and Development Studies.
"By bringing Taiwan in, the U.S. would forge a de facto military alliance with Taiwan," said Ouyang Liping, an expert on global arms control with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.
The TMD system would trigger a new global arms race, Ouyang said.
Sa Benwang, a senior analyst on Sino-U.S. relations with the China Institute for International Strategic Studies, said the TMD system would "add fuel to separatist attempts for 'Taiwan independence' and will also encourage Japan's ambitions for military expansion."
It would be a serious violation of China's sovereignty and a heavy blow to the "strategic partnership" China and the United States have pledged to build, Sa said.
Ouyang warned that non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was in danger of being reversed. He did not elaborate.
Last week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said the U.S. anti-missile systems would fuel regional and global instability.
U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen (pictured) said last week the United States faced a growing threat of missile attack by rogue states and planned to spend an extra $6.6 billion on countering it, on top of $3.9 billion already budgeted.
On Sunday the mouthpiece of the Chinese military, the Liberation Army Daily, blasted the U.S. decision to boost spending on anti-missile systems, calling it a "dangerous move" and "unwise."
The newspaper warned against transferring any anti-missile technology to Taiwan or including the island in the U.S. anti-missile systems, saying it would be "absolutely unacceptable."