• Aditya Das

Tensions between US-China escalate over Taiwan arms deal

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Godhasri Krishnan

October 28, 2020

Lockheed martin headquarters Maryland, US

(Source: JEC Composite)

The foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that China will impose sanctions on US firms Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing Defence, and any other US firms which participate in the sale of arms with Taiwan during a news conference on October 26 in Beijing, as per a report by Reuters.

The foreign ministry remarked that the US will violate the diplomatic relations agreement signed in the 1970s by approving arms sales of 135 air-to-ground missiles, costing $1.8B to Taiwan. Taiwan intends to build its combat capabilities so as to safeguard the country from threats of annexure posed by China. However, Chinese foreign ministry threatens to "make legitimate and necessary responses" depending upon how the situation pans out, according to a report by Aljazeera.

BBC’s Taiwan correspondent Cindy Sui reported that previous US administrations have been careful not to disrupt diplomatic relations with China fearing unpleasant circumstances. However, as a part of the central theme of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign on November 3, he has put up a tough stance against China.

In addition to seeking closer ties with Taiwan, the US has increased the scrutiny on Chinese media and imposed sanctions on their officials, companies, and government agencies for their actions in Hong Kong, Tibet and the disputed South China Sea.

Recently, a high-ranking US politician visited Taiwan in order to meet the island's president, Tsai Ing-wen, in August. China strongly criticised the meeting. Aljazeera quoted spokesperson Lijian say that "The US move is sending a very wrong signal to separatist forces advocating for Taiwan independence, and seriously damages China-US relations".

Aljazeera has reported that China also launched a diplomatic offensive in an attempt to court Taiwan’s few official allies and as a result, it now has diplomatic relations with just 15 national governments globally. Taiwan’s National Defense Minister said that although Taiwan did not want to get involved in an arms race with China, it needed a credible military while receiving the shipment of arms earlier this week. While the US approved the sales of arms to Taiwan, with an implicit security guarantee, it does not have a formal defence treaty with Taiwan like it does with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.

Sources : (NDTV, Reuters, Al Jazeera, BBC, The Hindu)

Edited by Aditya Das and Shreya Gupta

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