As though China needed another excuse to hate the US, it came September 25, when the US State Department proposed to fund $330m worth of military parts for Taiwan’s army. China, by the way, considers Taiwan its territory.
The US has periodically gifted small military parts to Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. George W. Bush approved a $125 million sale of anti-ship missiles in 2007, while Obama approved a $1.83-billion arms sale package in 2015. The Pentagon handed Taiwan a $1.3 billion package of military support equipment in June this year.
Last Monday’s shipment was the largest to date, with the State Department promising the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States spare parts for aircraft, including F-16 fighter jets and C-130 cargo planes.
Although Taiwan claimed independence from the Mainland in 1949, China claims the island as its own, harassing it with intermittent threats like military exercises close to its shores. Allegedly out for the little man, President Trump’s administration acceded to Taiwan’s $330 million request for its “defensive and aerial fleet.”
According to the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Taiwan is “an important force for political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”
The little island was gushingly grateful. “As Taiwan faces gradually heightened threats,” its foreign ministry announced, “the US arms sales would … also boost Taiwan’s confidence in strengthening self-defence to help maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
Taiwan’s presidential office promised to “maintain close communication and cooperation” with the US on security issues.
Naturally, China retaliated Tuesday warning the US that the sale “interfered in China’s internal affairs and harmed China’s sovereignty and security interests.”
Its Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said that US arms sales to Taiwan jeopardized Sino-US cooperation and breached international law. The Chinese gave the US 30 days to reconsider, warning that Beijing’s talks with Washington were in jeopardy.
Doubtless such threats would fail to dissuade President Trump, who persists in calling Taiwan a country, acknowledges its President Tsai Ing-wen and questions why the U.S. recognizes Beijing instead of Taipei.