The US State Department has given formal approval to the sale of weapons worth 1,100 million dollars to Taiwan, in a gesture that threatens to further stir up tensions between Washington and Beijing over the island that China considered an inalienable part of its territory.
Some tensions that do not stop increasing. After the visit of the president of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taipei last month, which Beijing perceived as a resounding slap in the face of its interests and to which it replied with unprecedented maneuvers with live fire in the vicinity of the island This same Wednesday, Taiwan announced the shooting down of an unidentified drone after having detected a series of suspicious incursions of these devices into its airspace.
The military equipment that the United States plans to deliver to the island under a democratic government includes a radar system for the early detection of possible missile launches, valued at 665 million dollars.
The war material also includes Sidewinder air-to-air missiles for a total of 85.6 million dollars, and 60 Harpoon anti-ship rockets, capable of tracking and sinking ships in the event that China launches a maritime assault against Taiwan, worth 355 million. of dollars. “In accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States makes available to Taiwan defense material and services necessary to enable it to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,” said a State Department spokesman, describing the sale as a ” routine matter.”
The Law on Relations with Taiwan, signed in 1979, obliges Washington to sell weapons to Taiwan for the self-defense of the island in the event of an attack from China. The norm was approved in the same year in which Beijing and Washington completed the formalization of their diplomatic relations after the war and the United States ceased to maintain formal ties with Taipei, the government that until then had considered the legitimate representative of China since the nationalist troops, defeated by the communist army in the civil war in the Asian giant, took refuge in Taiwan in 1949.
China and the United States base their policy towards Taiwan on what they both call “One China” but each interprets it differently. For Beijing, the “principle” of “One China” means that there is only one China, led by the communist government, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of that territory. For the United States, which describes its “One China” position as a “policy,” Beijing is China’s legitimate government and Taiwan’s status is undefined.
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The Asian giant has never renounced the use of force to achieve unification. Since the 2020 re-election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen, a supporter of keeping its distance from Beijing, China has increased its pressure on the island, with its military planes frequently flying over the Taiwanese air defense zone.
Traditionally, Washington has never wanted to specify whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, in a position that it defines as “strategic ambiguity.” The logic of this position, according to successive US administrations, is that by not guaranteeing the support of his army, he avoids giving wings to the idea of a possible declaration of independence by the island. And by not rejecting the possibility of intervening, it dissuades Beijing from the temptation to attack Taiwan, a territory of great strategic value (it closes the chain of islands that prevent China’s direct access to the Pacific) and economic value, as the world’s main supplier of more advanced semiconductors.
“The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of differences across the Straits, in accordance with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan,” the State Department spokesman said Friday, confirming the approval of the sale.
Beijing has urged Washington to “immediately revoke” the sale approved this Friday, as “it sends the wrong signals to the separatist forces of ‘Taiwan independence and seriously harms relations between the United States and China, and stability along the strait. of Taiwan”, according to statements by the spokesman for the Chinese embassy in the US capital, Liu Pengyu, collected by AFP. “China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary countermeasures in light of the development of the situation,” he added, without specifying what those actions might be.
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