updated 3/26/2008 9:27:41 AM ET 2008-03-26T13:27:41

China on Wednesday strongly protested the U.S. military's mistaken delivery to Taiwan of intercontinental ballistic missile electrical fuses, demanding an investigation and steps to "eliminate the negative effects and disastrous consequences."

In a statement posted on the ministry's Web site, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said China issued a protest to Washington and expressed "strong displeasure" over the error.

The U.S. Defense Department said Tuesday the Air Force mistakenly shipped to Taiwan four electrical fuses designed for use on intercontinental ballistic missiles. The fuses have since been recovered and an investigation launched.

The error raised major concerns because of its indirect link to nuclear weaponry and the sensitivity of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the self-governed island that China regards as its own territory.

"We ... demand the U.S. side thoroughly investigate this matter, and report to China in a timely matter the details of the situation and eliminate the negative effects and disastrous consequences created by this incident," Qin said.

Beijing regularly protests U.S. weapon sales to Taiwan and Qin again demanded an end to such sales and military-to-military contacts between Washington and Taipei to "avoid damaging peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the healthy development of China-U.S. relations."

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