BEIJING – China’s last-minute cancellation of a U.S. Navy visit to Hong Kong was not the result of a misunderstanding, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday, adding that ties had been “disturbed and harmed” by Congress’ honoring of the Dalai Lama and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
Spokesman Liu Jianchao denounced an earlier report from Washington that said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told President Bush the incident was a misunderstanding.
Nice that we’re clear on that.
Liu said “erroneous” actions on the part of the U.S. had “disturbed and harmed” relations.
He pointed to Congress’ awarding its highest civilian honor to the Dalai Lama last month. Although the Tibetan spiritual leader is lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority, Beijing demonizes the monk and claims he seeks to destroy China’s sovereignty by pushing for independence for Tibet.
Also hurting relations were arms sales to Taiwan, an island which China regards as a renegade province, he said.
If Murdoc was President, we’d immediately issue a statement explaining that honoring the Dalai Lama and the arms sales to Taiwan were not “erroneous”, as earlier reported by some Chinese official, but very carefully thought-out and intentional actions of official policy on our part.