Thursday, December 17, 2015
Council on Foreign Relations
The United States announced it would sell $1.83 billion in arms to Taiwan (AP), including two warships, anti-tank missiles, and amphibious assault vehicles. The move drew swift rebuke from Beijing, which summoned a senior U.S. envoy (Al Jazeera) in protest and threatened to sanction the arms production companies. The authorization comes a year after Congress passed legislation approving the sale and marks the first such major arms sale to Taiwan in more than four years. The White House said there was no change in its longstanding “one-China” policy (Reuters).
“The United States has said several times that it would expect that the cross-Strait relations would be conducted on the basis of dignity and mutual respect. This is very important. This also refers back to my earlier point on international space. Hopefully Taiwan can also be a respectable member of international community with dignity, while the cross-Strait relationship can be further developed on the basis of the 1992 consensus,” writes Lyushun Shen for the Diplomat.
“The Chinese government could cancel some upcoming military exchanges with the U.S., as it has in the past. Or the Chinese could try to punish U.S. defense firms that are involved with the arms sales through sanctions, although the involvement of such firms in Chinese government business is limited,” writes Josh Rogin for Bloomberg.
“Warnings about China closing the gap with the American military and the Pentagon’s plans for anti-ship missiles are music to the ears of defense contractors and U.S. lawmakers whose states host key manufacturing hubs. At a time of increasing budget pressures, the Navy has an incentive to highlight the Chinese maritime threat to help secure funding. But skeptics say they have sometimes exaggerated the threat,” writes Dan de Luce for Foreign Policy.