The U.S. Departments of Defense and Justice have issued a joint statement of intent to Congress informing lawmakers that the two agencies are considering sending $2 billion of military aid to Taiwan that includes some of the U.S. Army’s most advanced technology, according to insiders who spoke to Time magazine.
It what was a surprise to no one, China instantly protested against the anticipated U.S. military aid package to Taiwan.
“We are severely concerned about the U.S.’s move,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing on Thursday, as reported by Time.
“We are firmly against U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. We urge the U.S. to see the high sensitivity and severe harm of arms sales to Taiwan,” Geng Shuang added, in case it wasn’t clear where his government stood on the transfer of military materiel to Taiwan from the United States.
President Trump’s administration picked a particularly questionable time to announce the anticipated sale of war-making equipment to Taiwan, given China’s displeasure with the Trump administration’s imposition of tariffs on its exports to the United States.
With the Pentagon’s announcement that it intends to provide Taiwan with highly sought after war fighting machines, the cold war with China has another front: military aid.
The story printed in Time provided the following inventory of military equipment likely headed for Taiwan:
The package includes 108 of the tanks built by General Dynamics Corp., as well as 1,240 TOW wire-guided anti-tank missiles, 409 shoulder-launched “fire-and-forget” Javelin anti-tank missiles and 250 Stinger shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles made famous by Afghan “freedom fighters” in their war against the Soviet Union.
Reuters added a few items to the weapons wishlist likely to be approved by Congress and sent to Taiwan.
The Reuters story reports: “Taiwan has been interested in refreshing its existing U.S.-made battle tank inventory, which includes M60 Patton tanks.”
Taiwan’s government is giddy at the prospect of taking deliverance of this shipment of seriously potent U.S.-made war machines. Again, as reported by Reuters:
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in March Washington was responding positively to Taipei’s requests for new arms sales to bolster its defenses in the face of pressure from China. The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide it with the means to defend itself.
As for Beijing, the Communist regime that rules China has never recognized the independence of the island nation. In fact, China considers Taiwan a province in perpetual rebellion and China insists that it retains the “right” to force Taiwan back into the territory of China, using armed force if necessary.
While Taiwan should certainly be grateful for the likely haul of heavy machinery, missiles, ammunition, and other deadly American weaponry, that country isn’t not alone on the Trump administration’s combat Christmas list.
Again, from Reuters:
The Pentagon announced last week it would sell 34 ScanEagle drones, made by Boeing Co, to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam for $47 million.
The drones would afford greater intelligence-gathering capabilities, potentially curbing Chinese activity in the region.
Notice, though, that each of the nations on track to take possession of powerful American war-making machines are in Asia and could prove tactically useful to the United States should the U.S. ever want to conduct “joint military exercises” with the military of one or more of the countries whose soldiers need training on their new tech.
Sensing, though, the threat that such a substantial import of weaponry might pose to China, Taiwanese officials don’t mind what their neighbors are getting, so long as Taiwan gets the guns, planes, missiles, technology, and other military equipment the Pentagon has proposed.
“Going forward our government will continue to deepen the close security partnership between Taiwan and the United States,” the Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry told Reuters.
Good thing for Taiwan that George Washington isn’t president.
Our first president and the man modestly described as “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” was not keen on committing the new American confederation to participating in any foreign conflicts.
In a letter he wrote to Patrick Henry on October 9, 1795, Washington explained his position on American contribution to foreign combat: “My ardent desire is, and my aim has been, to comply strictly with all our engagements, foreign and domestic; but to keep the United States free from political connections with every other country, to see them independent of all and under the influence of none.”
Less than a year later, Washington wrote to Charles C. Pinckney that, “It is a fact too notorious to be denied that the greatest embarrassments under which the administration of this government labors proceed from the counter-action of people among ourselves, who are more disposed to promote the views of another nation than to establish a national character of their own.”
As soon as the 30-day review period has expired, Congress is expected to approve the arms sale to Taiwan.