The United States angered China once more on Friday (local time) and agreed to sell weaponry worth $1.1 billion to Taiwan. The sale of arms comes at a time when the island-nation has faced threats and warnings to its sovereignty from its neighbour China.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) September 2, 2022
China ramped up military exercises following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island-nation in August. The military exercises were a display of how China might forcibly reunify the island if president Xi Jinping wishes to. Beijing sees Taiwan as part of China.
In the arms sale deal, the US will send a radar system to track incoming missiles and strikes and also send anti-ship and anti-air missiles to bolster the island-nation’s defence.
Nancy Pelosi’s visit – the highest senior official in 25 years to visit Taipei – caused anger in the Communist Party of China (CPC) as it made Chinese president Xi Jinping uncomfortable ahead of his entry into the record-breaking third term, which is scheduled to happen during the CPC’s twice-a-decade Congress beginning on October 16.
China immediately warned Washington asking the Biden administration to revoke the deal or face ‘countermeasures’. The embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu said the deal puts China-US ties in further jeopardy.
“China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation,” he said, according to BBC.
The deal, despite China’s apprehensions, is likely to be approved by the pro-Taiwan US Congress.
What Does the Arms Package Contain? (according to the Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency)
- A $655m radar warning system
- $355m for 60 Harpoon missiles – these missiles are capable of sinking ships
- $85.6m for Sidewinder surface-to-air (SAM) and air-to-air missiles
The US State Department officials speaking to the BBC said the deal was necessary to guarantee Taiwan’s security. It also called on Beijing to stop its coercive tactics and engage in diplomacy and discussion with its neighbour.
However, the State Department also said the arms sale was to modernise Taiwan’s armed forces and ‘maintain a credible defensive capability’.
China will also be unimpressed that the US president Joe Biden will keep in place for now billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese imports that his predecessor Donald Trump introduced. These tariffs have angered China and there were some talks of easing those tariffs but following latest developments related to Taiwan any easing of tariffs is unlikely.