Washington angers Beijing after news of new arms deal to Taiwan

Washington angers Beijing after news of new arms deal to Taiwan

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The United States announced on Friday a new round of arms sales to Taiwan, worth 1.1 billion dollars, even as tensions are at their highest with China, which considers the island a part of its territory. In response, Beijing threatened Washington with “countermeasures”.

The United States announced on Friday, September 2, the sale for 1.1 billion dollars of weapons in Taiwanto which China, which considers the island as part of its territory, immediately asked them to give up, threatening to take “countermeasures”.

This new arms sale comes a month after a visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, which had enraged Beijing. China had then launched the most important military maneuvers in its history around the island.

The US government approved the sale to Taipei for $355 million of 60 Harpoon missiles capable of sinking warships, 100 Sidewinder short-range missiles ($85.6 million), capable of intercepting missiles or drones, and a $665 million maintenance contract for Taiwan’s radar system, the State Department said in a statement.

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These transactions “serve the economic and national security interests of the United States by supporting (Taiwan’s) efforts to modernize its armed forces”, underlined the American diplomacy via a spokesperson.

This is the biggest US arms sale for Taiwan since Joe Biden took over as president in January 2021.

The announcement comes a day after Taiwanese forces shot down an unidentified commercial drone, part of a sudden series of incursions that have caused confusion on the island after Beijing’s previous show of force, which said firing ballistic missiles over the capital Taipei.

Beijing immediately demanded that Washington renounce these transactions, declaring itself “firmly opposed”, through the voice of the spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu.

China calls on US to “immediately revoke” arms sales to Taiwan, “lest it further affect relations with the United States, as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait “, added the spokesperson in a press release.

“China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary countermeasures in view of the situation,” he said.

Since 2010, the United States has notified Congress of more than $35 billion in arms sales to Taiwan, said a spokesperson for the State Department, which approved those deals.

To materialize, these sales must receive the approval of Congress, which is almost certain, military support for Taiwan enjoying broad support among elected officials on both sides.

“Strategic Ambiguity”

These arms sales are “essential to Taiwan’s security and we will continue to work with the defense industry to support this goal,” the State Department spokesperson added.

“We call on Beijing to put an end to its military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan and to engage instead in a dialogue” with Taipei, also noted the spokesperson. “The United States continues to support a peaceful resolution of the matter in accordance with the wishes and in the interests of the Taiwanese people.”

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On the Taipei side, “this arms sale will not only help our soldiers to fight coercion in the gray area, it will also strengthen the island’s early warning capabilities against long-range ballistic missiles,” said Chang Tun-han, spokesman for the Taiwanese presidency, in a statement of thanks.

Before the controversial visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, the number three in the United States and the most senior American official to visit the island in decades, Joe Biden’s entourage had quietly argued to China that it would not not represent administration policy, Congress being a separate branch of government.

The green light for arms sales, on the other hand, clearly comes from the Biden administration, even if it is in line with the policy applied since 1979, when Washington recognized Beijing while agreeing to maintain the capacity to self-defense of Taiwan.

On a trip to Tokyo in May, Joe Biden appeared to break with decades of US policy by saying the US would directly defend Taiwan if attacked, but his aides later backtracked to maintain the concept. deliberately blurring the “strategic ambiguity”.

China considers Taiwan, with a population of around 23 million, to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War ( 1949). In seven decades, the communist army has never been able to conquer the island, which has remained under the control of the Republic of China – the regime that once ruled mainland China and now rules only Taiwan.

With AFP

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