China suspends military exchanges with the US and threatens to impose sanctions on US arms companies over a Washington decision to sell weapons to Taiwan.
China's Defense Ministry suspended military exchange visits with the US, saying the suspension was "in consideration of the serious harm and impacts [of the 6.4-billion-dollar US-Taiwan arms deal] on Sino-US military relations."
Chinese Foreign Ministry also threatened to impose sanctions on US firms that sell weapons to Taiwan amid straining relations between Washington and Beijing.
"China will also impose corresponding sanctions on US companies that engage in weapons sales to Taiwan," the ministry said on Saturday.
"The United States must be responsible for the serious repercussions if it does not immediately reverse the mistaken decision to sell Taiwan weapons," Chinese deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei told the US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman.
The arms sale includes Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, mine hunter ships and information technology.
US Congress has 30 days to comment before the plan goes forward. Lawmakers traditionally have supported such sales.
Saturday's measure is the second such suspension, since the former Bush administration in 2008 announced a multibillion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan.
Relations between the two countries have been strained as President Barack Obama plans to meet with the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, later this year.
More complications could affect President Hu Jintao's expected visit to the US this year, as well as talks on human rights that Obama and Hu had agreed to continue, a Press TV correspondent reported.
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