- China summoned a US Embassy official on Monday to protest
at Washington's plan to sell $550 million worth of military aircraft and
other weapons to Taiwan, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
- The warning came on the same day that China tested a
new type of long-range ground-to-ground missile.
- China lodged a "strong protest" over the arms
sales, which include two E-2T Hawkeye surveillance planes and parts and
equipment for F-16 fighter planes.
- The deal was announced last week by the Pentagon but
it is subject to final approval by the Clinton administration.
- "The proposed sale of this equipment will not affect
the basic military balance in the region," the Pentagon said in a
- But Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Jiechi Yang called
on Washington to cancel the deal, saying it would "further intensify
tensions across the Taiwan Strait and cause severe damage to Sino-US relations".
- He urged the US to "take practical steps to correct
- Missile test
- Xinhua reported that the test was completed successfully,
but gave no further details.
- In May a US congressional report said that China was
expected to test its Dong Feng-31 (East Wind) missile.
- The missile is thought to have a range of 8,000 km (5,000
miles) and is capable of carrying a single 700 kg (1,500 lb) nuclear warhead.
- Further tests are expected before the missile enters
service, possibly in 2000.
- The Taiwan defence ministry said it had no information
on the latest test.
- Only hours before the test announcement Hong Kong newspapers
had reported that Chinese troops in Fujian province facing Taiwan had been
put on heightened alert.
- Policy change
- Tension has been high between China and Taiwan since
Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui stated last month that relations between
the two countries should be conducted on a "state-to-state" basis.
- China considers Taiwan a province of China and has reacted
with anger to the the Taiwanese leader's comments.
- Three years ago, Washington sent two aircraft carrier
groups to the Taiwan Straits in an effort to keep a lid on rising tensions
between the two sides following Taiwan's first democratic presidential
- During that bout of tension, just before presidential
elections in Taiwan, China test-fired missiles as part of military exercises
in the straits.