Billion dollar arms sale from U.S. to Taiwan draws threats from China

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced a $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan on Wednesday, drawing an immediate rebuke and threats of retaliation from Taipei's rival Beijing.

See Full Article

The arms package is the first offered by the U.S. to the self-governing island in four years. Even before its announcement, Beijing, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory, demanded it be scrapped to avoid harming relations across the Taiwan Strait and between China and the U.S.

That was followed by a formal diplomatic protest late Wednesday, although at a lower level than in previous such instances.

"China resolutely opposes the sale of weapons to Taiwan by the U.S.," Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said in a meeting with Washington's second-highest ranking diplomat in Beijing.

"In order to safeguard the nation's interests, the Chinese side has decided to take necessary measures, including the imposition of sanctions against companies participating in the arms sale to Taiwan," Zheng said, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website.

Such sanctions have been threatened in the past, although there's no evidence they've had any meaningful effect. American and European Union companies are banned from selling military technology to China and Chinese companies have extensive links with major overseas firms that often have weapon-making divisions.

The U.S. maintained there's no need for it to hurt the relationship, which has also been strained by China's island-building in the South China Sea and alleged cybertheft.

The administration notified Congress that the proposed arms package includes two decommissioned U.S. Navy frigates, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles and Stinger surface-to-air missiles. There's also support for Taiwan's capabilities in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and a weapons system to defend against anti-ship missiles.

Congress has 30 days to review the sale, but it's unlikely to raise objections. There's been mounting bipartisan concern that Taiwan is inadequately armed to defend itself against an increasingly powerful mainland China.

U.S. lawmakers welcomed the announcement. There were calls from both parties for more frequent arms sales to Taiwan.

New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the sale would contribute to peace and stability across the strait. "I wish we would see them on a regular basis," he said.

The committee's Republican chairman, California Rep. Ed Royce, said the administration had "needlessly dragged out" the approval process, and that other Taiwanese requests "have still not seen the light of day."

Sen. John McCain, Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should avoid extended periods during which "fear of upsetting the U.S.-China relationship may harm Taiwan's defence capabilities."

The administration has announced more than $12 billion in arms sales to Taiwan since 2010, but none since $5.9 billion in sales in September 2011 that included upgrades for Taiwan's F-16 fighter jets. That drew a high-level diplomatic protest from Beijing, which suspended some military exchanges with the United States. It did not seriously impair ties.

In the meantime, President Barack Obama has sought greater co-operation with China on issues such as climate change, and the two sides have increased military exchanges to reduce the risk of conflict.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. was in contact Wednesday with both Taiwan and China about the sale, which he said was consistent with U.S. support for Taiwan's ability to defend itself under the Taiwan Relations Act.

"There's no need for it to have any derogatory effect on our relationship with China," Kirby told reporters. "We still want to work to establish a better, more transparent, more effective relationship with China in the region and we're going to continue to work at that."

Also on Wednesday, Ma Xiaoguang, China's spokesman for the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, reiterated China's opposition to arms sales to Taiwan from any country under any circumstances, and called for Taiwan to "treasure" improved relations with the mainland.

Relations across the Taiwan Strait have undergone a steady improvement over the past two decades, especially under the China-friendly administration of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Shooting rampage in Wisconsin began with domestic dispute

    World News CTV News
    WESTON, Wis. -- A man angry after a domestic dispute opened fire in a Wisconsin bank, killing two longtime employees, then killed an attorney at a nearby law firm and a detective trying to set a perimeter outside an apartment complex before he was finally captured, police said. Source
  • Complaint filed after B.C. judge makes comments about hearing sexual assault trial

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - Comments attributed to a British Columbia judge about the number of days that should be allotted to hear a sexual assault case have led to a complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council, the province's attorney general said Thursday. Source
  • Dog found in trash bag dumped in park; policeman charged

    World News Toronto Sun
    PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia policeman has been accused of putting his adopted dog in a trash bag and dumping it at a park. The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says Officer Michael Long was arrested Thursday on animal cruelty and related misdemeanour charges. Source
  • Sunken South Korean ferry to be loaded on transport vessel

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - South Korean efforts to bring a sunken, 6,800-ton ferry back to land cleared an obstacle on Friday after divers cut off a vehicle ramp that had been dangling from the ship and hindering efforts to raise it. Source
  • Sanctions disrupting humanitarian aid to North Korea, UN report says

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO - International sanctions on North Korea are taking a serious toll on humanitarian aid activities, according to a United Nations-led report. The report issued this week by the UN's senior resident official in Pyongyang said sanctions are inadvertently hindering legitimate operations on the ground and have indirectly contributed to a "radical decline" in donations it said are badly needed by millions of North Korean women and children. Source
  • Parents of 'no-fly list kids' upset at no funding for redress system

    Canada News CBC News
    Parents of children whose names are on Canada's no-fly lists are upset that no funding from the federal budget has been allocated towards a redress system. "By not funding the establishment of a redress system, the federal government continues to leave at risk the families of over 60 Canadian children of various races, religions, backgrounds and creeds who came forward and hundreds more still afraid to do so," a group called No-Fly List Kids said in a statement released on Twitter…
  • Parents of 'no-fly list kids' upset at lack of funding for redress system in federal budget

    Canada News CBC News
    Parents of children whose names are on Canada's no-fly lists are upset that no funding from the federal budget has been allocated towards a redress system. "By not funding the establishment of a redress system, the federal government continues to leave at risk the families of over 60 Canadian children of various races, religions, backgrounds and creeds who came forward and hundreds more still afraid to do so," a group called No-Fly List Kids said in a statement released on Twitter…
  • Canada faces risk of homegrown terrorists using vehicles: security experts

    Canada News CTV News
    Security experts say Canada is at risk of homegrown terrorists using vehicles as weapons, following the London attack and reports that a Canadian suspected of ties to ISIS has been arrested in Turkey. In Tuesday’s London attack, 52-year-old Khalid Masood used a rented car to strike pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing the vehicle into a gate. Source
  • Sally Armstrong talks to Lisa LaFlamme about Kenya's fight against rape

    Canada News CTV News
    Canadian journalist Sally Armstrong is documenting efforts to combat a widespread culture of rape in Kenya, where one third of girls fall victim before the age of 18. “Justice Clubs” teach children about their right to be protected from rape. Source
  • U.S., 13 other nations demand Venezuela hold elections soon

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The United States and group of 13 nations across the Americas on Thursday called on Venezuela's government to hold elections and immediately free political prisoners, setting up a potential diplomatic showdown with President Nicolas Maduro's socialist administration. Source