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China Debuts At Munich Security Conference With Rebuke Over U.S. Arms Sale


Chian's Yang Jiechi in Munich: "I think the Chinese people and the government have every reason to feel indignant."
(RFE/RL) -- China says it is "indignant" about planned U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and has urged Washington to change its behavior.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made the remark at a leading international security conference in Munich.

Calling Taiwan "a part of China," Yang said the $6.4-billion arms deal constituted a violation of standards in international relations and urged Washington to change its behavior.

"This is obviously a violation of the code of conduct among nations, and this is a violation of the three Joint Communiques issued between China and the United States," Yang said. "I think the Chinese people and the government have every reason to feel indignant about this thing."

It's the latest Chinese rebuke over the deal, which is to include Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters, and mine-hunting ships.

Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has threatened to attack the self-ruled island if it tries to formalize its de facto independence.

Yang's comments also marked China's debut at the annual Munich Security Conference.

Defense officials, diplomats, and politicians from around the world are attending what is considered the leading international forum on security policy.

The gathering has long been a strategy session for U.S. and European leaders on defense cooperation.

But China's formal participation in the conference -- and Yang's opening address -- reflect Asia's growing role on the world stage.

RFE/RL correspondent Brian Whitmore, who is in Munich, says the agenda "clearly reflects" the shifting of power from Europe to Asia.

Modest U.S. Delegation

Along with China's prominence, our correspondent says the U.S. delegation is much more modest than in previous years, with White House National Security Adviser James Jones the highest-ranking U.S. official.

Nuclear disarmament, Iran's controversial nuclear program, stabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also China's future role in world affairs were expected to be the major themes at this year's conference.

The event comes amid indications from Iran that it might agree to a Western proposal to send uranium abroad for enrichment, in what has been seen as a possible breakthrough in the dispute.

Yang told the conference the crisis over Iran's nuclear program had reached "a crucial stage" but that diplomacy remained the best way to resolve this issue.

"The Iranian nuclear issue -- this issue has entered a crucial stage," he said. "The parties concerned should, with the overall and long-term interests in mind, step up diplomatic efforts, stay patient, and adopt a more flexible, pragmatic, and proactive policy."

Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki is to attend a "Night Owl Session" later today with his Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. special representative Richard Holbrooke are also due to be among an estimated 300 participants.

Others due to attend include senior representatives from India and Pakistan, as well Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Earlier in the day, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev opened a panel discussion on "Resource Security and Shifting Global Power."

with agency reports