US Approves Arms Sale to Taiwan

US Approves Arms Sale to Taiwan

( – The diplomatic powderkeg embodied by the relationship between Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China (ROC), and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the mainland, ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has existed since the end of the 1949 Chinese Civil War that gave rise to the PRC. The stalemate has caught the US on the horns of a dilemma more than once. As the US approved a $360 million arms sale to Taiwan on Tuesday, June 18, it again faced Beijing’s displeasure.

The Biden administration approved the sale of nearly more than 1000 armed drones, including $60 million for 720 Switchblade 300 fixed-wing drone missiles and their firing systems. Additionally, the sale includes almost 300 “loitering” drones, the Altuis 600M, and accompanying components worth approximately $300 million.

While the US provides Taiwan with armaments to defend itself, it doesn’t formally recognize the island as a sovereign foreign nation. The PRC has demanded that the US acknowledge its “One China” policy, which states that the territory of Taiwan belongs to the PRC even though it has allowed the island to operate as an independent economic and social unit. Failure to acknowledge the PRC’s position could result in a diplomatic breakdown.

However, Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) in 1979 after then-President Jimmy Carter unilaterally canceled the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty with the ROC. The TRA provides that the US will support Taiwan’s defensive capabilities against PRC aggressions.

PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian called the US sale of arms to Taiwan a serious violation of the One China principle and an affront to relations with Beijing. He added, “China strongly condemns and firmly opposes the […] frequent arms sales to Taiwan,” calling them “deliberate provocations.”

Lai Ching-te, Taiwan’s president, thanked the US for the sale on Wednesday. His spokesperson, Karen Kuo, said the weaponry would allow the island to deter enemies and “strengthen our self-defense and asymmetric warfare capabilities.”

The order joins a $19.6 billion backlog of weapons and munitions. Taiwan is awaiting those orders as manufacturers work through the backlog, according to the Cato Institute. The nation has invested about a third of the backlog into asymmetrical weaponry. Experts project that asymmetric weapons would more likely survive an invasion encounter from the PRC and remain effective.

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