Wen blames US for souring of ties

BEIJING:The United States is to blame for recent tensions in Sino-US ties and must take steps to repair the damage, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said today, indicating no let-up in their diplomatic row.

Wen accused Washington of

violating China’s sovereignty when it approved the sale of

billions of dollars in weapons to Taiwan in January, and again when US President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama at the White House last month.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated over a series of other issues — Google’s threat to leave China over cyberattacks and web censorship, a string of trade disputes, and the value of the Chinese yuan.

Wen, addressing hundreds of reporters at the end of China’s

annual session of parliament,

said relations between the

world’s biggest and third-largest economies “got off to a good start” after Obama took office in January 2009. But Washington’s moves on self-ruled Taiwan, which China sees as part of its territory, and Obama’s meeting with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader had “violated China’s sovereignty” and provoked “serious disturbances” in ties. “The responsibility does not lie with the Chinese side but with the US,” Wen said.

“We hope the US will face the

issues squarely and take concrete steps” to remedy the situation,

he added.

“A peaceful US-China relationship makes both countries winners,” Wen told reporters.

“It’s better to have dialogue rather than confrontation,

cooperation rather than containment and partnership rather

than rivalry.” Washington in

January approved the sale of $6.4 billion in arms to self-ruled Taiwan, which China sees as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

Last month, Obama met the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, at the White House. Beijing says the Buddhist monk is bent on independence for the Himalayan region, a charge he denies.

Asked about the flap surrounding Google, Wen tip-toed around the question, repeating only that China was open to foreign companies wishing to set up shop in the Asian giant.