After the US announced the sale of anti-ship Harpoon missiles to Taiwan, Beijing has accused Washington of violating three joint communique signed between the US and China.
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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that China would take legitimate and necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and security interests with firm determination, noting the arms sale to Taipei violates the three communique, especially the one signed on August 17, 1982.
Reminding of the 1982 communique, the US stated that it “does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms… and that it intends gradually to reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution.”
“The move has interfered in China’s internal affairs, seriously damaged China’s sovereignty and security interests, and sent wrong signals to Taiwan secessionists, and has seriously harmed China-US relations and the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits,” Wang emphasized.
The Chine state-owned tabloid, Global Times (GT), citing Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert, said that the US missiles could bring some threats to the PLA if war breaks out between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits which that the US has violated its promises made in the three joint communique with the People’s Republic of China to gradually reduce its arms sales to Taiwan.
The announcement for the $2.4 billion sale of the 400 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 100 launcher transporters, radar, and support systems to Taipei was made on the same day when Beijing announced sanctions on American defense companies including Boeing, the lead contractor on the Harpoon deal, as well as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other entities that are supplying arms to Taiwan.
The Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile that can be launched by air, surface, or by submarine-based platforms. It has a range of about 125 kilometers.
According to the US State Department, this capability will easily integrate into existing force infrastructure. “The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces.”
Jerry Song of Defence International magazine, speaking to SCMP, revealed that Taiwan already possesses Harpoons that can be launched from submarines, ships, and aircraft. The new land-based Harpoons would fill the gaps in the system.
However, Chinese experts believe that the threat posed by Harpoon missiles to the PLA is very limited, as they are subsonic missiles designed in the 1980s, and the current self-defense and anti-missile facilities installed by the PLA on its vessels and land-based bases can shoot them down easily.
Tensions between mainland China and Taipei are at an all-time high with China warning for a reunification of the island by force, if necessary.
In a sharply worded GT editorial, Beijing’s plans to invade Taiwan seem more real than ever before. “If Taiwan authorities refuse to be restrained, the mainland will end the dirty arms trade between the US and the island with a crisis. When there is a severe clash between the US, the Chinese mainland, and the island of Taiwan, Taiwan authorities must be crushed first.”
It further called the “Taiwan secession” a dead-end saying that with the US’ support, Taipei has misjudged the situation and Beijing is ready to “exert unprecedented pressure on the island to curb the evil trend.”