However, in Beijing, Yu Wanli, a professor from the Center for International and Strategic Studies of Peking University, said the U.S. arms sale to Taiwan could hurt cross-strait relations, because it gave impetus to supporters of formal independence for the island. "The arms sale to Taiwan by the U.S. sends the wrong signal to Taiwan, that is, that America supports the democratic system in Taiwan which may eventually lead to independence," Yu said. He added that he believed a big proportion of Taiwanese were independence supporters. Niu Jun, a Peking University international relations specialist, said the U.S. arms sale to Taiwan will have little effect on the military balance between the sides, which most analysts see as now trending strongly in China's favor. "Ultimately, the mainland will have advantages in terms of military strength" over Taiwan, Niu said. Tamkang University's Wang agreed. "The package will redress the imbalance but not in a significant way," Wang said. "Taiwan's air force will face a serious gap in the long term if they need to retire aging planes without F-16 fighter jet replacements." ___ Associated Press researcher Henry Hou contributed to this story from Beijing.
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