China Tensions Escalate: Biden Approves $500 Million Arms Sale to Taiwan

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Posted in: Andy Oxide, MPN, News, Updates
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Washington Backs Taiwan with Increased Military Assistance Despite China’s Objections

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has approved a $500 million arms sale to Taiwan, further deteriorating relations with China as the US ramps up military support for the island democracy.

The State Department announced on Wednesday that it has approved the sale of advanced infrared missile tracking systems to Taiwan for installation on its F-16 fighter jets.

The sale includes not just the tracking systems but also ancillary equipment, software, testing support and spare parts.

While modest compared to some previous major weapons transfers, the sale is likely to provoke a stern response from China, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province and has vowed to reunite it with the mainland one day.

Beijing has consistently objected to US arms sales to Taiwan, seeing it as meddling in its internal affairs.

In a statement, the State Department said the proposed sale “serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting Taiwan’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces.”

It added that the tracking systems would help Taiwan “meet current and future threats” by boosting its air defense and regional security capabilities.

The announcement came just hours after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen visited a war memorial, commemorating those who died when Taiwan and China last clashed in battle over the Kinmen islands in 1958.

Tsai renewed a pledge to strengthen Taiwan’s military defenses against the rising threat from China.

It also follows China’s angry reaction to Taiwanese Vice President William Lai’s recent transit through the US on his way to Paraguay.

Beijing sees such transits as emblematic of Washington’s support for Taiwan’s independence ambitions.

In recent years, China has dramatically stepped up military drills and maneuvers around Taiwan.

Chinese fighter jets and navy vessels now routinely enter into or approach Taiwanese airspace and waters.

This sustained pressure campaign is seen as Beijing signaling its determination to prevent Taiwan from formally declaring independence.

The new arms package, while not altering the balance of power, represents both Washington and Taipei’s shared concern about Chinese military activity increasingly encroaching on Taiwan.

It underscores that even small weapons sales will continue fueling tensions between the US and China over the island’s future status.


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Associated Press

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