US to brief Taiwan on upcoming Chinese military talks

This type of exchange is commonplace between Washington and Taipei whenever top-level talks with Beijing occur, Taiwan's ministry of foreign affairs said Wednesday in a statement. 

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Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he, a spokesman for Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense, said the military will "pay close attention to subsequent developments" coming out of the talks, according Focus Taiwan news channel. 

He declined to comment on what specific developments Taiwan was looking for. 

News of Liang's visit coincides with bilateral economic talks between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Chinese leaders in Beijing this week. 

The Chinese defense chief's visit to Washington also comes at a particularly tenuous time for U.S. and Chinese relations. 

The White House has taken a harder line in its dealings with China, such as a recent decision to consider selling American warplanes to Taiwan and the administration's handling of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng. 

This about-face in U.S.-Chinese policy could serve to counter presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s criticism of the administration on China ahead of November's presidential elections. 

However, a State Department-brokered deal guaranteeing Chen's safety in China quickly unraveled Wednesday after the activist had second thoughts and pleaded for asylum in the United States. 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday demanded an apology from the Obama administration after U.S. officials confirmed the American Embassy protected Chen in Beijing following his escape from house arrest about 10 days ago. 

The White House's decision to open the door to Taiwanese fighter sales could also hinder U.S.-Chinese negotiations on a number of pressing security issues. 

China, a key member of the U.N. Security Council, has backed a Syria peace plan proffered by U.S.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan after weeks of intense negotiation. 

But Beijing could theoretically pull its support for the plan in protest of any proposed arms sales to Taiwan. 

China also continues to hold out on supporting U.S. sanctions against Iran, which are designed to curb the country's continued nuclear work. 

As the biggest consumer of Iranian oil exports, China also continues to exchange sensitive technologies with Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. 

Beijing's relations with Tehran will almost assuredly grow stronger if the United States does end up supplying fighters to Taiwan.