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China threatens the United States of reprisals following the announcement on Friday September 2 of the biggest sale of American arms to Taiwan since the arrival of Joe Biden at the White House. After having condemned the sale, the Chinese power demands that Washington renounce this contract of 1.1 billion dollars.
with our correspondent in Beijing, Stephane Lagarde
Beijing turned a deaf ear when the US has asked China to stop trading with Russia, following the invasion of Ukraine. There is therefore little chance today that this call will be heard, despite Chinese anger.
Through the voice of its embassy in Washington, Chinese diplomacy declared itself ” firmly opposed to this new arms sale which comes a month after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The trip of the representative of the House of Representatives had triggered unprecedented Chinese military maneuvers in the Strait of Formosa.
Rise of China
On the American side, we know that the window of opportunity is short before Chinese power fully materializes. Two dates to remember: 2027 which will mark the 100th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army. And 2035, when the PLA should have completed its modernization.
On the Chinese side, the fear of an encirclement is recalled in each speech. The communist power also condemned this week the upgrade of the American high-altitude missile defense system (THAAD) in South Korea and the continued rearmament of the Japanese self-defense forces.
But the most sensitive issue for Beijing remains Taiwan. The communist power considers the territory as a rebel province of china that is to be reunited. The tone therefore went up a notch on Friday evening: if the United States does not come back on this sale, China will take ” countermeasures that are legitimate and necessary in view of the situation », threatens the Chinese representation. While the state press multiplies the articles denouncing the “interested” support of the Americans and their allies in the region: ” Politicians come to extract profits from secessionist authorities in Taiwan », writes the GlobalTimes about the announced new visit of French senators to the island.
Drone shot down
This new showdown also comes as Taiwanese forces shot down an unidentified commercial drone on Thursday, after multiple incursions by these unmanned aircraft, particularly over Kinmen Island. Taipei had expressed its intention to adopt stricter measures in the face of such intrusions, which had become more frequent: this unidentified civilian drone had penetrated its airspace. A “mosquito effect”, ” harassment strategy in which an accident quickly happened. Some observers worry that an incident will one day serve as a pretext for Chinese intervention.
To materialize, the sale of these 60 Harpoon missiles, 100 short-range Sidewinder missiles, and a maintenance contract for the radar system – announced yesterday by Washington – must still receive the approval of the American Congress. ” This arms sale will not only help our soldiers (…), it will also strengthen the island’s early warning capabilities against long-range ballistic missiles “, said the Taiwanese presidency in a press release.
► to read also: Washington announces new arms sales to Taiwan for $1.1 billion