Biden admin’s 5th arms sale to Taiwan slammed for double dealing

A line of vehicle-mounted howitzers attached to a combined-arms brigade with the army under PLA Eastern Theatre Command open fire during a live-fire exercise on June 16, 2022. Photo:China Military

The US on Friday (US time) announced the fourth arms sale to the island of Taiwan in 2022 – the fifth total under the Joe Biden administration – despite the Taiwan question has been repeatedly mentioned in several recent China-US high-level meetings which showed consensus for avoiding escalating tension.

Chinese mainland experts on Saturday slammed the latest US deal featuring a package involving spare parts for tanks and combat vehicles plus technical assistance worth $108 million, saying it exposed the US’ two-faced nature and its failure to honor its own words.

The US State Department has approved the possible sale of military technical assistance to Taiwan for an estimated cost $108 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a press release on Friday.

The proposed sale will contribute to the recipient’s goal of maintaining its military capability while further enhancing interoperability with the US and other allies, according to the press release.

The figure of $108 million is an unreasonably high price for just spare parts and intangible technical assistance, and it is obvious that the US arms firms are again leeching on Taiwan for its money, a Beijing-based military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Saturday.

Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party authority is only paying protection money for things that cannot help them gaining a chance standing up to the Chinese mainland’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the expert said.

The approval of the arms sale came after a sequence of frequent interactions between senior officials from China and the US since June, including those between Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as Chief of the Central Military Commission Joint Staff Department General Li Zuocheng and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Mark Milley.

Both sides underscored consensus on avoiding escalating confrontations, and the Taiwan question was repeatedly mentioned especially during meetings between military officials, observers said.

But the latest US arms sale to Taiwan, as well as a US warship’s recent trespassing into Chinese territorial waters in the South China Sea, exposed that the double-faced US is only offering lip services to China, analysts said.

The US’ strategic goal is very clear now, which is to contain China’s development. This means the promises that the US made during high-level talks are not trustworthy, and it will bound to continue provoke China on China’s core interests including the Taiwan question, Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Saturday.

China no longer has unrealistic illusions over the US, and the PLA is preparing for the worst-case scenario in which a cross-Straits conflict would take place in order to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, analysts said.

Some 10 PLA warplanes, including fighter jets and bombers, entered the island of Taiwan’s self-proclaimed southwest air defense identification zone on Friday, the island’s defense authority said in a press release on the same day.

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