The proposed arms deal worth $7 billion between the United States and Taiwan which will enable Taipei to acquire advanced weaponry from Washington, has been labelled as “salami tactics” by Beijing, which also goes on to say that the island nation is quenching its “thirst by drinking poison”.
Amid the fears of a possible Chinese invasion, Taiwan has been looking to bolster its defensive capabilities and with President Tsai Ing-wen already deciding to increase the country’s defence budget by 10 per cent last month.
According to a Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at a Washington-based think-tank called Center for Strategic and International Studies, under the arms deal, Taiwan could be set to acquire sea mines, coastal defence cruise missiles and drones from the Trump administration, to fend off any advances by the Chinese military.
“These capabilities will support Taiwan’s ‘overall defence concept’ which focuses on using asymmetric conventional capabilities optimised to resist a People’s Liberation Army invasion,” said Glaser
The deal will be the second-biggest package of weapons provided to the island nation by its military partner Washington, following an $8 billion arms deal agreed last year. This added to Taiwan’s increased military spending of more than 2 per cent of the nation’s GDP, highest since the 1990s, leaves Taiwan in a better position to deal with foreign threats.
According to an editorial in Global Times, a daily newspaper under the auspices of Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the move is looked upon as a provocation by both nations (US and Taiwan) and could lead to increased “uncertainties in the entire region”.
“The US and the island of Taiwan continue to adopt the “salami tactics” to expand the space for their ties, increasing US arms sales to the island, and attempting to force the Chinese mainland to swallow such a trend. They keep throwing stones into the water of the Taiwan Straits. But once they go too far, the stones may become torpedoes, increasing the uncertainties in the entire region, as well as the risks of drastic changes in the Taiwan Straits.”
The news of the deal comes ahead of the visit of US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach to Taiwan, who is in the island nation to host the US-Taiwan Economic and Commercial Dialogue. It is suggested that Krach’s visit is considered sensitive to the interests of the island nation and might serve as a catalyst in the growing ties between the two countries.
However, the word in China is that Taiwan is being offered a helping hand in order to be exploited by the United States.
“Fully relying on the US will make the island of Taiwan subject to the willful exploitation of the US. The Tsai Ing-wen authorities lifted import restrictions on US pork and beef as a reward for the visit of US health and human services secretary Alex Azar. Many people wonder how Taiwan will be taken advantage of from Krach’s trip. The US is increasing its arms sale to Taiwan, it that a part of the deal?”
Once the People’s Liberation Army dispatches troops to reunify the island of Taiwan, the military equipment from the US will be nothing but decorations. The arms sales to Taiwan are a mechanism for Washington to blackmail the island.”
The paper also suggested that Taiwan is quenching its “thirst by drinking poison” as it promotes ties with Washington, which according to Beijing, are just a means for the island nation to receive “country-level treatment”.
“International law clearly states that Taiwan is not a country. The US and the island of Taiwan are attempting to upgrade their official ties, and the island is trying to receive greater “country-level treatment” from the US.
This constitutes the biggest change to the status quo in the Taiwan Straits and a continuing source of tensions in the region. The further the US and Taiwan go in this direction, the more likely the situation in the Taiwan Straits will spiral out of control. Taiwan will suffer the most. Promoting relations with the US is nothing but a way to quench its thirst by drinking poison”
Beijing has repeatedly issued warnings to the US for its dealings with Taiwan, which China considers to be part of its territory.
Earlier, The US, which is the island’s main international backer and arms supplier, signed a whopping $62 billion contract with Taiwan to supply 66 new F-16 “Viper” jets additional jets, which when delivered by 2026, will take the island nation’s existing fleet to over 200 aircraft.