Byline: Bill Gertz, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Military exchange halt
The Pentagon's military exchange program with China suffered another setback this week when a Chinese general announced that military visits and port calls by ships will not resume until the announced $6.5 billion U.S. arms package to Taiwan is canceled.
Chinese Maj. Gen. Qian Lihua, director of the Defense Ministry foreign affairs office, stated that China wants the Pentagon to end arms sales, which are required under U.S. law.
We demand the U.S. change its ways, cancel its plans to sell weapons to Taiwan and stop its exchanges with the Taiwanese military. Only if they do so can the [People's Liberation Army] and ministry of national defense resume normal relations with their U.S. counterparts, Gen. Qian was quoted as saying in the Financial Times.
China suspended all military exchanges with the Pentagon in early October, and appeals from defense officials to reconsider were rejected by Beijing officials. Gen. Qian's demand to end Taiwan arms sales is a new wrinkle for China in expressing its anger over the arms sales after the suspension of military-to-military contacts was announced Oct. 7, affecting several planned visits and ship port calls.
The military-to-military program suspension scuttles efforts by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to expand the program over the past two years. Mr. Gates regarded the military exchanges as an important way to build trust with China's …