The United States has frozen on arms sales to Taiwan following concerns expressed by China, top US military commander in Asia Admiral Timothy Keating said Wednesday.
He said Washington made the decision after having "reconciled Taiwan's military posture, China's current military posture and strategy that indicates there is no pressing, compelling need for, at this moment, arms sales to Taiwan.
"There have been no significant arms sales from the United States to Taiwan in relatively recent times," he acknowledged at a forum of the Washington based Heritage Foundation. "It is administration policy."
Keating said while Washington was committed to the defense of Taiwan, as enshrined in US law, "We want to do nothing to destabilize the (Taiwan) strait," which separates the Taiwan and the mainland.
"The Chinese have made clear to me their concern over any arms sales to Taiwan," he said.
Reports have said that senior US officials were holding up an 11-billion-dollar arms package and a delivery of dozens of F-16 jets for Taiwan, possibly until President George W. Bush leaves office.
The Bush administration must give Congress formal notification for the approval of weapons sales to foreign governments, but the Washington Post recently cited unnamed sources saying Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley have frozen the deal.
The reports appeared as China and Taiwan began last month their first formal talks in a decade, the latest step in a rapprochement that is likely to see the long-time rivals quickly deepen trade and tourism ties.
Taiwan has been governed separately since the end of a 1949 civil war, but Beijing has repeatedly threatened to invade should the island declare formal independence.
Washington has been the island's leading arms supplier, despite switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.