Friday 7 July 2023

China Claims The U.S. Is Turning Taiwan Into A ‘Powder Keg,’ Pushing Taiwanese Toward ‘Abyss Of Disaster’

 China is accusing the United States of pushing Taiwan toward a disaster, claiming the recent sale of military equipment to the island nation has turned it into a “powder keg.”

Last week, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of $440 million in military equipment to Taiwan, including 30 mm ammunition, small arms, combat weapons systems, and other equipment, according to the Associated Press. On Wednesday, China’s Defense Ministry responded to the approval by accusing the U.S. of putting Taiwan on a path toward destruction. 

“This is tantamount to accelerating the transformation of Taiwan into a ‘powder keg’ and pushing the Taiwanese people into the abyss of disaster,” Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Col. Tan Kefei said in a statement

The statement on the defense ministry’s website said the communist nation is “firmly opposed” to any arms sales from the U.S. to Taiwan, claiming the U.S. “disregarded” Chinese concerns and interfered in internal relations. The ministry also accused the U.S. of “deliberately” escalating tensions along the Taiwan Strait. 

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the Taiwan defense ministry detected 26 Chinese military aircraft and four naval ships from around the island. Nine of those aircraft crossed the air defense identification zone, according to the ministry. 

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, has been independently governed since 1949. China holds a “One China” policy, asserting that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States doesn’t recognize Taiwan’s formal independence and instead has diplomatic relations with Beijing.  

Even so, the U.S. vowed under the Taiwan Relations Act, signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.” On Friday, in response to the U.S. Department of State approving sales to Taiwan, the country’s defense ministry said it would help protect against “severe threats” by China’s “expanding threats of military and grey zone tactics.” 

Similarly, the U.S. State Department said the sale of the equipment “serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability.”

Taiwan has been continuously provoked by China, especially since the election of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, whose Democratic Progressive Party is more in favor of independence from China. After Tsai met with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in California in April, the Chinese military conducted three days of drills, even rehearsing an “encirclement” of Taiwan. 

“Under the unified command of the theatre joint operations command center, multiple types of units carried out simulated joint precision strikes on key targets on Taiwan island and the surrounding sea areas, and continue to maintain an offensive posture around the island,” Chinese state TV reported at the time. 


While the State Department’s official policy on Taiwan opposes “any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side,” President Joe Biden in September appeared to make a major shift in U.S. policy, claiming his administration would seek to defend Taiwan if “there was an unprecedented attack.” That comment was later walked back by the White House, and administration officials have since clarified that the United States is not in favor of independence for Taiwan. 

“We do not support Taiwan independence,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month. “We continue to expect the peaceful resolution of cross-strait differences. We remain committed to meeting our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act, including making sure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself,” he added.

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