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Why China's response to US arms sales to Taiwan is so muted

In an effort to maintain ties with the US ahead of a major shift in China's leadership, China's response on a multimillion dollar arms sale to Taiwan, a normally divisive subject, appears muted.

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A week after Washington announced a multimillion dollar arms sale to Taiwan, the Chinese government appears unwilling to do much more about it than issue fierce rhetorical protests, according to political analysts here, in an effort to not disrupt ties with the US ahead of a major shift in China's leadership.

Two previous US arms deals with the island that Beijing regards as a renegade province seriously disrupted Sino-US military relations; this time seems to be different.

“The government would hate to see a deterioration in relations with the US at the moment,” says Shi Yinhong, an expert on US affairs at Renmin university in Beijing. “They won’t make more than a minimum response.”

A senior US official said Monday he had been told by the Chinese that “some activities, as part of the military-to-military program, will be postponed, rescheduled or canceled” in retaliation for the $5.8 billion arms sale.

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