The Chinese government announced late Saturday an unusually broad series of retaliatory measures in response to the latest United States arms sales to Taiwan, including sanctions against American companies that supply the weapon systems for the arms sales.
The Foreign Ministry announced in a pair of statements from Beijing that some military exchange programs between the United States and China would be canceled in addition to the commercial sanctions. Furthermore, a vice foreign minister, He Yafei, has called in Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the United States ambassador to China, to protest the sales.
The American decision to sell more weapons to Taiwan “constitutes a gross intervention into China’s internal affairs, seriously endangers China’s national security and harms China’s peaceful reunification efforts,” Mr. He said in the ministry’s statement.
See also this report from ITN:
And from Xinhua: “Arms sale causes severe damage to overall China-U.S. cooperation”
Update: In the Washington Post, John Pomfret reports that Beijing’s reaction to the deal is part of a “a new triumphalist attitude from Beijing.” The report continues:
From the Copenhagen climate change conference to Internet freedom to China’s border with India, China observers have noticed a tough tone emanating from its government, its representatives and influential analysts from its state-funded think tanks.
…”There has been a change in China’s attitude,” said Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a former senior National Security Council official who is currently at the Brookings Institution. “The Chinese find with startling speed that people have come to view them as a major global player. And that has fed a sense of confidence.”
Lieberthal said another factor in China’s new tone is a sense that after two centuries of exploitation by the West, China is resuming its role as one of the great nations of the world.
This new posture has befuddled Western officials and analysts: Is it just China’s tone that is changing or are its policies changing as well?