Tuesday October 27, 2020
Despite recent Chinese sanctions, the US government is bagging a new arms deal with Taiwan. This time Washington wants to send 100 missile systems to Taipei. Just a few days ago, both sides had agreed on the delivery of surface-to-air missiles.
Despite China’s resistance, the US has announced another arms deal with Taiwan. The US government approved the sale of 100 Harpoon missile systems worth a total of 2.4 billion dollars to Taipei, according to the State Department in Washington. This is intended to help Taiwan expand its defense and maintain the military balance in the region.
The planned arms deal is likely to meet with sharp protests in China. Beijing only announced sanctions against several US arms manufacturers on Monday for the sale of US arms to Taiwan. The US must stop arms sales to Taiwan, said a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. If necessary, China will take further action.
China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province
The US government had approved the sale of 135 air-to-surface missiles to Taiwan in the past few days. These would help Taipei to “meet current and future threats,” said the State Department in Washington. Eleven mobile light rocket launchers and six aerial reconnaissance systems were also supplied.
China continues to view Taiwan, which broke away from China in 1949, as a breakaway province to be reunited with the mainland – if necessary by force. Beijing has increased diplomatic, economic and military pressure on Taiwan since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016.
While Taiwan had resorted to an implicit security guarantee from the US for decades, Washington recently pushed Taipei to develop its own defense capabilities. The Taiwan question had recently repeatedly put strain on the relationship between China and the USA. Beijing viewed it as a provocation that two high-ranking US government officials traveled to Taiwan one after the other.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have deteriorated significantly over the past few months. The issues at stake include dealing with the corona pandemic, trade relations, Chinese interference with the autonomous rights of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.