China opposes new US arms sale to Taiwan

Updated On: Sep 09, 2011

China repeated its opposition on Wednesday to a fresh sale of US arms to Taiwan as a deadline on a weapons deal for the island-nation approaches.

Taiwan, intending to phase out its old fighters, hopes to buy 66 late-model F-16 aircraft from the United States, a sale potentially valued at more than $8 billion.

"We resolutely oppose the United States selling weapons to Taiwan," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters on Tuesday.

Taiwan-China relations have been improving since the China-friendly Kuomintang government took power in Taipei in 2008. However, Taiwan says there is a need to counter a growing Chinese military.

Alongside the new fighter jets, Taiwan has brought forward production of a new missile defence system.

The "Wan Chien" missile production system will now be as ready as early as 2014 form 2018 in order to equip locally developed fighter jets with the new system.

The missile will allow Taiwanese fighter jets to aim at Chinese targets from a distance and reduce the risks of having to fly over mainland territory, law maker Lin Yu-fang, also a military pundit reported.

The Taiwanese military estimates that China has more than 1600 missiles aimed at the island. It considers Taiwan to be part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, prompting the Taiwan to seek more advanced weapons, particularly from the US.

Under the 1992 consensus, the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party and
China’s government agreed that there was only “one China,” which
included both the mainland and Taiwan, but left unclear exactly how that
“one China” was defined, effectively allowing each side to continue to
claim to be China’s rightful government.

Though the US switched diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in 1979 to
acknowledge China's 'One China' policy, it has always been Taiwan's
biggest ally and arms supplier, duty bound by law to help the nation
defend itself.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's opposition has advocated for the rejection of the 1992 consensus, in favour of a 'Taiwan Consensus', which would be determined by the opinions of lawmakers and scholars across Taiwan.

Responding last week, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under China’s State Council called Taiwan's opposition leader, Ms Tsai Ing-Wen's guidelines “unrealistic and unacceptable.” If her party's Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, regains power, cross-Strait ties will likely continue, if at a slower pace, because Beijing understands any extreme measures could backfire, says Taiwan's former foreign minister Chen Chien-jen.

General elections are scheduled for Taiwain in January next year, with an August 23 Global Views Magazine poll putting Mr. Ma slightly ahead with 39.6% support compared to 38.1% for Ms. Tsai.

Report: China repeats opposition to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan (Reuters, 7 September 2011)

Report: Taiwan to produce new anti-China missiles: lawmaker  (AFP, 6 September 2011)

Report & Analysis: Taiwan Opposition Leader Advocates Dumping Old ‘Consensus’ on China(WSJ, 6 September 2011)

Related Article