Taiwan arms deal risks inflaming US-China relations

27-Sep-2018 Intellasia | AP-9News | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The US has approved a $456 million arms deal with Taiwana move one expert warns threatens to further inflame relations with China.

The US Defence Department said the sale in equipment for F-16 fighters and other aviation hardware will improve Taiwan’s ability to defend itself without changing the basic military balance in Asia.

China opposes all US military sales to Taiwan.

Adam Ni, a Chinese defence expert at the Australian National University, told nine.com.au the arms deal would further strain US-China relations.

Taiwan Air Force F-16 fighters drop flares during a military exercise over the island. The US has approved a deal to sell parts of the American-built aircraft to Taiwan. (Getty)

Taiwan Air Force F-16 fighters drop flares during a military exercise over the island. The US has approved a deal to sell parts of the American-built aircraft to Taiwan. (Getty)

“This proposal comes amid intensifying US-China strategic competition and the escalating trade war. It also comes as China is ramping up pressure on Taiwan with military posturing and intensifying efforts to restrict Taiwan’s international space,” Ni said.

Ni forecast that Beijing would further intensify pressure on Taiwan to unite with the mainland, a policy driven by hardline President Xi Jinping.

“Xi Jinping sees unification with Taiwan as a critical legacy project. China will bring into play its formidable suite of economic, diplomatic and military tools in order to achieve its cross-strait objectives.”

Taiwan split with the mainland in 1949, but China claims it as part of its territory and has threatened to invade if necessary to reunite Taiwan with the mainland.

Relations between Washington and Beijing are already strained as the two economic superpowers slap each other with a new round of trade tariffs.

Washington has no official relations with the island’s democratically elected government but is obliged by US law to see that it has the means necessary to defend itself.

Ni said the issue of Taiwan is taking an increasing role in relations between the US and China.

“The hardening US stance against China and the new consensus in Washington that Beijing is a competitor instead of a partner means that the Taiwan issue will acquire renewed importance in US-China relations.”

https://www.9news.com.au/2018/09/25/13/23/us-risks-angering-china-with-multimillion-dollar-arms-sale-to-taiwan

 


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