US-Taiwan missile deal irks Beijing - People's Daily Online China made stern representations to the US Thursday after the Obama administration approved a sale of upgraded Patriot air-defense missile equipment to Taiwan. The decision was denounced by Chinese military scholars as a representation of US-style pragmatism and its long-term containment policy toward China. The US defense department announced the contract late on Wednesday, allowing Lockheed Martin Corp to sell an unspecified number of Patriots, said the American Institute in Taiwan, Washington's de facto embassy in the absence of formal ties, Reuters reported Thursday. Wendell Minnick, Asia bureau chief of Defense News, told Reuters that the sale rounds out a $6.5 billion arms package approved in late 2008, which included 330 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles worth up to $3.1 billion. "This is the last piece that Taiwan has been waiting on," Minnick said. Late last month, Raytheon, the world's largest missile maker, won contracts totaling $1.1 billion to produce the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System for Taiwan, including ground-system hardware and spare parts. According to a Wednesday press release by the US Department of Defense on its website, the contract with Lockheed, awarded December 30, included "basic missile tooling upgrades, command and launch control tooling, spares and ground support equipment." The completion date of the work is estimated to be October 31, 2012. In a regular press conference in Beijing Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said China has urged the US to cancel any planned arms sales to Taiwan to avoid damaging its ties with Beijing. The PAC-3 missile is the world's "most advanced, capable and powerful theater air defense missile," which defeats tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and fixed and rotary winged aircraft, and significantly increases the Patriot system's firepower, Lockheed said on its website. The hardware could shoot down Chinese short-range and mid-range missiles, US defense analysts were quoted by Reuters as saying. Yang Chengjun, a senior military strategist, told the Global Times that the arms sale would only pile up hostility but can't alter the contrast of military strength across the Taiwan Straits. The latest contract didn't include design work on diesel-electric submarines, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and the "Po Sheng" (Broad Victory) command and control program, which White House officials said last month were in discussion. Xu Guangyu, a member of China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, noticed the "compromise" and argued Beijing's pressure on the Obama administration worked. To suspend communication or postpone some cooperative projects are among the countermeasures available for China in the military domain, Xu suggested. Some military experts urged stronger actions. Yang Yi, a rear admiral of the navy, suggested some US companies that sell weapons to Taiwan also want to sell aircraft and other goods to China. "Why don't we take defensive countermeasures against them? Apart from just protesting to the US government and taking necessary steps, why don't we put sanctions on these troublemakers?" Yang told the China New Service. An online poll on huanqiu.com showed that 95.7 percent of more than 16,000 participants favored the idea of sanctioning companies related to arms sales to Taiwan. Shi Yinhong, a professor at the Center of American Studies at Renmin University of China, noted that China should work out a detailed strategic plan in the long run. "If the US doesn't halt its arms deals, China must take firm, larger-scale corresponding actions, to make the US learn the consequences the hard way." Taiwan purchased $18.3 billion worth of US arms under the Foreign Military Sales program from 1950 to 2006, before the island was granted the 2008 arms package by then US president George W. Bush. Shi predicted the Obama administration would divide the weapons sale package into separate contracts and seek to approve them one by one during his current tenure and next tenure, which may include upgraded F-16 fighter jets and armed helicopters, which could further harm China-US ties. In 2006, the US government had formally agreed to sell 66 F-16 C/Ds, an offensive weapon, worth $3.7 billion, but suspended the sales due to pressure from the Chinese government, including vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission Xu Caihou dropping his plan to visit the US in 2008, to protest the US arms sale plan. Jin Yinan, a strategist with the PLA University of National Defense, said the arms sales to Taiwan would be a long-term and stable policy of the US, which uses it as a card of containment against China, as long as the unification of China remains unrealized. "With the US pragmatism, the US government may sometimes delay the decision according to political and diplomatic needs, but they will neither cancel nor stop it," Jin said. The US is the only country in the world that still sells arms to Taiwan publicly. The Netherlands and France promised to stop deals with the island after their sales provoked strong actions from China.