The last two weeks have seen a mixed message from Beijing regarding U.S.-Chinese military ties. The ambiguous signals are indicative of China's continuing fixation on Taiwan and its uncertainty regarding its place among world powers.
In January, the U.S. moved forward on a long-delayed, $6.4 billion arms deal for Taiwan that includes assault helicopters, surface-to-air missiles and mine-hunting vessels. The deal had initially been approved by the Bush administration in 2008, but the new administration under President Barack Obama was slow to issue the individual contracts necessary to provide the weapons.
Under the terms of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. is required to provide for the self-defense of the island, which neither China nor the U.S. officially recognizes as an independent country. Taiwan and China split in 1949 following a bloody civil war.