USA approves $2.2 Billion arms sale to Taiwan, neglecting Chinese concern
The US State Department has approved a potential arms sale to Taiwan, estimated to be worth $2.2bn (£1.76bn), the Pentagon said. The deal is for 108 Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger missiles, and other related equipment.
Abrams Tanks and AD Missile system that is easy to move by soldiers in the battlefield would expand Taiwan’s ability to destroy Chinese fighter jets and armor.
China’s foreign ministry has called on the US to “immediately cancel” the proposed sale. Spokesman Geng Shuang stated the action “grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests”. He also blamed the US for violating the One China policy, under which the US can build only formal ties with China and not Taiwan.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said earlier that the sale of the weapons would not alter the basic military balance in the region. The DSCA has informed Congress of the possible arms deal.
The possible deal comes amid ongoing tensions between Washington and Beijing, triggered over trade. Whereas, Taiwan’s Presidential Office expressed “sincere gratitude” to the US – which is the main arms supplier to Taiwan.
The deal would be Washington’s first military sale to the democratically-governed island in decades and comes amid exacerbating ties between Washington and Beijing, the World’s two largest economies that have been clutched in an ongoing Trade war.
As far as China-Taiwan relation is concerned, China claims Taiwan as part of its territory which should be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be a part of the country again, but many Taiwanese want a separate nation. This dispute of Taiwan with China has left relations conflicted and a possible threat of a violent flare-up that could drag the US into the matter. As the US is by far Taiwan’s most important friend and its only ally.
The vital role of the US was obvious in 1996 when China conducted provocative Missile tests to influence Taiwan’s first direct presidential election. In reaction, US President Bill Clinton ordered the overwhelming display of US military power, which was biggest in Asia since the Vietnam War, sending ships to the Taiwan Strait, showing clear intentions to Beijing.