China on Thursday (October 22) threatened to retaliate after the latest round of US arms sales to Taiwan was announced.

24-Oct-2020 Intellasia | TaiwanNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The Trump administration has increased support for Taiwan through vital arms sales and visits by senior US officials amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over the South China Sea, Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet, and trade. China has significantly ramped up threats against Taiwan with large-scale military exercises in addition to an alarming increase in incursions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

In response to the US’ approval of a potential $1.8 billion arms package for Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a daily press conference called on the US to end its policy of selling arms. The sales “seriously interfere with China’s internal affairs, seriously damage China’s sovereignty and security interests, send a seriously wrong signal to Taiwan independence forces, and severely damage China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he claimed.

“China will make a legitimate and necessary response according to how the situation develops,” Zhao said. The spokesman did not give any specific details as to what that response would entail.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Defense minister Yen De-fa thanked Washington and said the latest package will help improve the country’s defensive capabilities in order to face the “enemy threat and new situation.” Yen said, “This includes a credible combat capability and asymmetric warfare capabilities to strengthen our determination to defend ourselves.”

“This shows the importance the US attaches to security in the Indo Pacific and Taiwan Strait. We will continue to consolidate our security partnership with the US,” he added. The defense minister also said Taiwan is not looking for a confrontation.

“We will not engage in an arms race with the Chinese communists. We will put forward requirements and build fully in accordance with the strategic concept of heavy deterrence, defending our position and needs,” Yen stated.

On Wednesday (October 21), the US State Department formally notified Congress of the potential $1.8 billion sale of three weapons systems, including missiles, artillery, and sensors, to Taiwan. It also covers 11 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) truck-based rocket launchers produced by Lockheed Martin Corp for an estimated cost of $436.1 billion.

Also included are 135 Boeing AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) Missiles and related equipment, totalling an estimated $1 billion, and six MS-110 Recce external sensor pods produced by Collins Aerospace for Taiwan’s F-16s at an estimated cost of $367.2 million.


Category: Taiwan

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