The United States announced this Friday a package of military assistance to Taiwan for value of 1,100 million dollars and that will serve the island, whose sovereignty China claims, to strengthen its missile and radar system, a State Department spokesman reported. The announcement comes at a time of particular tension around Taiwan with China’s military maneuvers near the island and after the controversial visit by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
The aid package is the largest granted to Taiwan so far by the Government of Joe Biden and eiIncludes 60 Harpoon-type missile systems to fire against ships and 100 short-range missiles of the AIM-9 Sidewinder model, as well as financial support for a radar system. The aid must still be endorsed by the United States Congress, where Taiwan has the support of both Democrats and Republicans, so approval is a mere formality.
The aforementioned State Department spokesman defended that military aid is necessary for Taiwan “to maintain its ability to defend itself” and recalled that, since 2010, the US government has notified Congress of the delivery of more than 35,000 million in military aid to Taiwan. The aid, the spokesman argued, complies with the “one China” principle that Beijing imposes as the basis of its ties with any country.
This policy means that the only Chinese government that the US should recognize is the one based in Beijing, which distances him from Taiwan’s independence aspirations. Biden has reiterated on several occasions his respect for that principle that made the US break diplomatic ties with Taipei almost half a century ago and establish them with Beijing.
In exchange, the United States adopted the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, in which it promised to provide military aid to the island, but did not make it clear whether it would intervene in the event of a Chinese attack, a policy dubbed “strategic ambiguity”. For its part, China claims sovereignty over the island and considers Taiwan a rebellious province since the Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the communists.