China strongly opposes all sales of military hardware to Taiwan, including the latest that was reportedly approved by the US State Department, a move that seriously violates the foundational one-China principle and damages China’s sovereignty and security interests, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Defense on Tuesday.
The US sale of military equipment will do nothing to challenge the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) overwhelming military superiority toward Taiwan, and amounts to yet another provocation that seriously impacts the one-China principle which is a long-standing prerequisite for China-US relations, said Chinese experts, adding that the sale is a potential “time bomb” confronting bilateral ties.
“The move by the US to sell weapons to Taiwan has seriously violated international law and basic norms of international relations, as well as the one-China principle and the three China-US Joint Communiqués,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at Tuesday’s routine press conference in Beijing.
The US State Department has approved the possible sale to the island of spare parts for F-16 fighter jets and other military aircraft worth up to $330 million, the Pentagon said on Monday, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
The approval covers a request for spare parts for “F-16, C-130, F-5, Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), all other aircraft systems and subsystems, and other related elements of logistics and program support,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
China expressed its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the US’ approval of the sale, said Geng. “China urges the US to stop the military sale to Taiwan immediately, and cut off military ties with Taiwan,” said Geng.
The three China-US Joint Communiqués are a collection of joint statements made by the two countries in 1972, 1978 and 1982, which includes the explicit acknowledgement by the US that “Taiwan is a part of China” and the promise to “gradually reduce its arms sales to Taiwan.”
The most serious issue with the sale is more political than military, said Diao Daming, an American studies expert and associate professor at Renmin University of China.
“The US has continuously challenged China’s bottom line on the Taiwan question, including passing the ‘Taiwan Travel Act’ and ‘2019 National Defense authorization Act.'”
These show that the US attitude toward the Taiwan question is becoming increasingly aggressive,” said Diao.
The US sale will only guarantee the normal use of Taiwan’s military aircraft, and will not cause any meaningful impact to the Chinese mainland’s overwhelming military advantage over the island, said Song Zhongping, a military experts and TV commentator.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang also said on Tuesday the sale seriously damages ties between Chinese and US military forces, and the peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits. “Chinese military’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity is firm and unwavering,” he said.
A time bomb
The Pentagon’s statement said that the “proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to improve the security and defensive capability of the recipient, which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”
The military advantage that the Chinese mainland holds over Taiwan is unchangeable, making the sale nothing more than another provocation that will simply test the patience of the Chinese mainland for peaceful reunification, rather than damaging its ability to realize reunification by other means, Song said.
“If the US continues its provocations or even directly supports ‘Taiwan independence,’ it could create potential for military conflict between the two countries. It’s like a time bomb in the middle of China-US ties, and the fuse is in the hands of the US,” Song said.
US President Donald Trump’s policy toward China is “playing with fire,” Diao noted. “The administration is making an irresponsible move that will impact China-US relations, world peace, and the US itself.”
By Yang Sheng
The article was first published by Global Times
The 21st Century