China will not talk if USA 'holds knife' to it

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 26, 2018

The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, which carries the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, was expected to visit the former British colony next month, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Pentagon on Tuesday confirmed that China had canceled a Washington visit by the head of its navy, and U.S. officials said China had denied a request for a U.S. Navy ship to make a Hong Kong port visit.

China has also firmly condemned the Trump administration's announcement that it will sell $330 million (£250 million) in military equipment to Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing in Beijing that United States arms sales to Taiwan were a serious breach of worldwide law and harmed Chinese sovereignty and security interests. Washington has no official relations with Taiwan's democratically elected government but is obliged by US law to see that it has the means to defend itself.

China and the United States are also embroiled in an increasingly bitter trade war.

The backdrop to these tensions is the U.S.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis has said he is seeking a way ahead for military ties with China after Beijing postponed talks in protest at Washington's decision last week to impose sanctions over China's purchase of Russian weaponry.

The US imposed a 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese products Monday, and China immediately retaliated with duties on $60 billion in American goods.

President Trump has been warned by a Chinese official that he will not bring Beijing to the negotiating table by placing "a knife to China's neck" after imposing tariffs on thousands more of its exports.

Tensions, however, extend well beyond economic exchanges and into military ties.

On Saturday, China summoned the USA ambassador in Beijing and postponed joint military talks in protest against a US decision to sanction a Chinese military agency and its director for buying Russian fighter jets and a surface-to-air missile system.

Also on Tuesday, Chinese officials demanded the US cancel a planned $330 million sale of military equipment to Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing considers a renegade province.

At the Pentagon, Lieutenant-Colonel Dave Eastburn confirmed that the USA military had been informed that China's navy chief would no longer meet America's top naval officer, Admiral John Richardson.

"We believe that we do have to have a relationship with China and Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo and I are of one mind on this", Mr Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday.

In 2016, at a time of heightened tension over its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, China denied a request for a US carrier strike group led by the John C. Stennis to visit Hong Kong.

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