China tells US to discard Cold War mentality

* Urges EU and Israel to ignore US concerns over arms sales


BEIJING: China Thursday blasted interference by the United States in its relations with other countries and urged the European Union and Israel to ignore Washington's concerns over arms sales.

"We believe that the United States should not point fingers, make irresponsible remarks and place obstacles in the way. We are firmly against it," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

"The US should discard its Cold War mentality and stop obstructing normal cooperation between China and other countries ... we ask relevant parties and sides to adhere to the principle of independence and make their own decisions on mutually beneficial cooperation between them and China."

Liu was commenting on an agreement this week between the United States and Israel on mutually identifying countries "arousing concern."ť The agreement is expected to curb Israelâ's growing military cooperation with China.

Liu also cited US opposition to the EU's plans to lift its arms embargo on China that was implemented after Beijing's brutal crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests.

The United States has expressed concern about China's growing military might, especially in the context of Taiwan, which Beijing threatens to take by force should it ever declare formal independence from China.

Liu said China's relations with the EU and Israel not only serve the interests of the countries concerned, "but also serves peace and stability in the region."

Led by France and Germany, the EU was set to lift the arms embargo on China by June 30 but so far US opposition to ending the ban has prevailed.

Following its agreement with the US, Israel faces several million dollars in compensation to China for reneging on a deal to upgrade a fleet of "Harpy Killer drone"ť pilot-free spy planes that it has sold to Beijing.

Earlier, Israel had to pay Beijing 350 million dollars in compensation after breaking an agreement in 2000 to supply Falcon airplanes with an AWACS radar system. That deal had also been opposed by the United States.