updated 10/6/2008 3:31:48 PM ET 2008-10-06T19:31:48

China has canceled some military contacts with the Pentagon as a result of America's recent announcement of a planned arms sale to Taiwan, a Pentagon official said Monday.

Beijing has notified the U.S. that it will not go forward with some senior level visits and some other cooperative military-to-military plans, Marine Maj. Stewart Upton, a Defense Department spokesman, told The Associated Press.

"In response to Friday's announcement of Taiwan arms sales, the People's Republic of China canceled or postponed several upcoming military-to-military exchanges," he said.

Beijing is angry over the U.S. decision to sell Taiwan a huge package of military items including guided missiles and attack helicopters.

Upton said this does not represent a change in U.S. policy and that "China's continued politicization of our military relationship results in missed opportunities."

A call seeking comment from the Chinese Embassy in Washington was not immediately returned.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said Friday that it had notified Congress of plans to sell up to $6.5 billion in advanced weaponry to Taiwan. Under procedures for such foreign military sales, the deal would proceed if no lawmaker voices an objection within 30 days of the notification.

Beijing claims Taiwan as its own territory and has threatened to invade should the self-governing island ever formalize its de facto independence.

Taiwan relies on U.S. weapons to keep pace with China's massive arms buildup across the Taiwan Strait. U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are a crucial matter because any dispute between China and Taiwan could ensnare the United States.

Washington is Taiwan's most important ally and largest arms supplier.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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