China Takes Actions Over US-Taiwan Arms Deal

China is taking action to show its objections to a U.S. plan to sell military equipment to Taiwan.

China said Saturday it is suspending military exchanges and security talks with the United States and threatened sanctions on U.S. firms that sell military equipment to Taiwan.

The official Xinhua news agency carried a strongly-worded statement from the foreign ministry following the U.S. announcement on Friday to sell $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan.

The statement says the arms deal would also affect cooperation between China and the U.S. on key international and regional issues.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei summoned U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman in Beijing Saturday to lodge a protest. He urged Washington to cancel the deal which he described as a threat to China's national security. He also said the arms deal undermines China's effort at peaceful reunification with Taiwan.

The U.S. Department of Defense said Friday it notified Congress of the possible sale to Taiwan of 60 Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot missiles, radar sets and communications equipment.

The package does not include F-16 fighter jets that the self-ruled island had wanted.

The United States has a treaty commitment to help the island maintain its defenses, and wants Taiwan and China to settle their differences peacefully.

China considers self-ruled Taiwan its sovereign territory, and has threatened to use military force if Taiwan attempts to claim formal independence.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told VOA Friday that "providing defensive equipment has actually enabled Taiwan to feel more comfortable in drawing closer to China in commercial interactions."

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.