US Defence Secretary William Cohen yesterday shrugged off mainland indignation over Israel's decision to scrap a sale of radar technology because of intense US pressure. He said the decision was an Israeli one. 'We are not seeking to contain China; I don't believe China can be contained,' said Mr Cohen, despite the Israeli Phalcon radar system having the capability to help China threaten Taiwan. Mr Cohen, who is in China for a five-day visit, painted a picture of deepening engagement with the mainland after finishing a 90-minute session with President Jiang Zemin that ran longer than expected. 'The subject did come up,' he said, 'but what was discussed was private'. 'It is certainly of concern to China that the sale was cancelled but we touched on many issues including Taiwan and our overall relationship.' At a press briefing earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao expressed China's frustrations over the cancellation by Israel. 'No other country has the right to interfere in the bilateral co-operation that China has with other countries,' he said, after insisting that China relied on itself to improve its self-defence. 'Agreements and understandings reached between states should be observed, which is the basic principle to be followed in state relations,' Mr Zhu said. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told President Bill Clinton on Wednesday that the US$250 million (HK$1.94 billion) sale had been dropped. Israeli officials said the decision was made against the 'background of the [Israeli] need to have intimate relations with the United States'. The US had insisted that Israel scrap the sale of the advanced airborne warning system, which allows military users simultaneously to track and target large numbers of aircraft. Mr Zhu's comments were muted compared to those in the Chinese press which attacked the United States as 'a threat to world peace' and termed US actions as 'the major cause of international disarmament setbacks'. Mr Cohen said that no decision has been made on the sale of Aegis naval weapons system to Taiwan and made a pitch for a renewal of dialogue across the Taiwan Strait. 'One of the reasons we hope there can be a reduction of tension as far as cross-Strait dialogue is that [Taiwan] President Chen Shui-bian does offer some hope for reconciliation in that he has made statements which have shown some flexibility and there ought to be creative ways to take advantage of that flexibility,' Mr Cohen said. Mr Cohen also met Vice-Premier Qian Qichen and top PLA general Zhang Wannian. On Wednesday, he held talks with Defence Minister Chi Haotian, Vice-President Hu Jintao and Chief-of-Staff Fu Quanyou. Although Mr Cohen questioned China on its export of missile technology to countries such as Pakistan, he indicated no progress in his talks with Chinese officials. He announced that Chinese navy ships would be making goodwill visits to Honolulu and Seattle and Chinese experts were invited to participate in a security forum on the Asia-Pacific region.