The US plans to sell Taiwan cruise missiles and rocket launchers for more than a billion dollars. China reacts vehemently to the arms deal – and announces a “necessary answer”.
China has threatened retaliation for the proposed sale of US missiles to Taiwan. Depending on the further development, there will be a “legitimate and necessary answer” to this arms trade, said a foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing. The deal is sending a “very wrong signal” to separatist forces in Taiwan and is seriously damaging US-China relations.
In the past few days, the US government approved sales of air-to-surface missiles to Taiwan worth more than one billion dollars. These would help Taipei to “meet current and future threats,” said the State Department in Washington. In addition to the 135 precision-guided cruise missiles, eleven mobile light rocket launchers and six aerial reconnaissance systems are also to be delivered to Taiwan, according to US figures.
USA urges Taiwan to rearm against China
China continues to regard 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. In the past few months, Taipei has complained of a sharp increase in the number of violations of its airspace by Chinese military jets.
While Taiwan had resorted to an implicit security guarantee from the US for decades, Washington recently pushed Taipei to expand its own defense capabilities. The Taiwan question had recently repeatedly strained 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, the Chinese interference with the autonomy rights of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.