US risks more China tension with $330 million Taiwan arms deal

26-Sep-2018 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The United States has proposed a deal to sell arms to Taiwan worth $330 million, in another move that will risk infuriating Beijing and add further tension to strained US-China relations.

Taiwan has welcomed the move, saying it helps the self-ruled island increase its defensive capability, but Beijing has said it violates the one-China principle.

A commentary by the overseas edition of Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily said the arms deal represented interference in China’s domestic politics and violated China’s sovereignty.

“We call on the US to cancel the deal and cut off military ties with Taiwan to avoid causing damage to China-US military relations and peace of the Taiwan Strait,” the article said.

The proposed deal to be put before the US Congress, announced on Tuesday by US defence officials, would cover spare parts for F-16, C-130 and F-5 indigenous defence fighter jets, and other aircraft systems.

“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security and defensive capability of the recipient, which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region,” the Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province that should be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. It had previously warned Washington against selling weapons to Taiwan and establishing military relations with the island, and remains locked in a trade war with the US.

Taiwan’s presidential office welcomed the move. “We greatly appreciate that the US government takes note of the national security of Taiwan and its commitments to firmly abide by the Taiwan Relations Act and six assurances [regarding US policy towards the island],” said spokesman Alex Huang.

He said the latest weapon sales can also help boost the island’s confidence in facing security challenges from Beijing, and strengthen the island’s ability to ensure cross-strait and regional peace and stability, thereby improving cross-strait relations.

“We will continue to increase our investment in national defence, boost our defence industry and technology development, and closely cooperate and communicate with the US on various security issues and agendas,” Huang said.

The six assurances, issued by former US president Ronald Reagan in 1982, include the US pledging not to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan, not to hold prior consultations with China regarding arms sales to Taiwan, and not to play a mediation role between Taiwan and China.


Category: Taiwan

Print This Post

Comments are closed.