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.
To be sure, the stuff being sold to the Republic of China is dated and includes intangibles in addition to hardware; it consists of
two decommissioned US 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.
These get directly, if in a limited fashion, to the People’s Republic of China’s ability to conduct an invasion of the island.
The PRC’s Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang:
China resolutely opposes the sale of weapons to Taiwan by the US.
If the PRC doesn’t like it, clearly we’re on the right path. Aside from that, and more importantly, the RoC is both a long-standing friend and a critical ally in Asia. We should be supporting them. In spades and with weaponry among a host of support means.
Kudos to Obama for taking this small step toward redressing the shortfall in the RoC’s ability to defend itself. We need to do much more of this.