US arms sales to Taiwan in the face of China

Beijing’s anger at Taiwan came as a result of the US State Department’s announcement of its agreement to sell Taiwan arms for about one billion and 800 million dollars, according to assurances from the US Department of Defense “Pentagon”, and the US Congress was notified of the possible sale of weapons to Taiwan. This provoked China’s anger at the United States of America because of that provocative step by Washington, in addition to the increase in US arms sales to Taiwan in recent years, with the increasing pace of intense military contact between them. Last May 2023, a delegation of twenty-five US arms suppliers attended the so-called “Defense Forum” in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, with the aim of strengthening US military logistics and ammunition supplies to Taiwan. Therefore, the Chinese Foreign Ministry commented on the step of strengthening the increasing military relations between the United States and Taiwan, that the region is turning into a “powder keg” due to the American intervention policy in Taiwanese affairs.  China opposes any official contacts of foreign countries with the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, and considers that its sovereignty over the island is indisputable. Knowing that tensions have escalated in the recent period between China on the one hand and the United States of America and Taiwan on the other, against the background of official meetings between officials of the two countries, which angered Beijing, which warned that it would take firm and effective measures to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Especially with Taiwan subject to the sovereignty of mainland China since 1949, with the administration of self-rule being given to it with the exception of the military, defense and political aspects, and Beijing views the Taiwanese island as a province belonging to it, while Taiwan asserts that it is a self-governing state, but it did not reach the point of declaring independence.

 Here, Beijing warned of plans to increase political relations between Washington and Taipei, as well as the danger of increasing US arms sales to Taiwan, to avoid destroying Sino-American relations, and not to cause the destruction of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China believes that US arms sales to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle and the three joint communiqués between China and the United States of America, especially the statement of August 17, and fall within the framework of US interference in China’s internal affairs and undermine China’s security and sovereign interests. The move of US arms sales to Taiwan sends deeply wrong messages to the separatist forces seeking the independence of Taiwan, and exposes Sino-US relations to a severe shake, with its effects on global security and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which China strongly opposes.

  Therefore, China urged the US side to fully recognize the extremely harmful nature of arms sales to Taiwan, and to adhere to the one-China principle with China’s warning to respond by legitimate and necessary means, according to developments in the situation in the Taiwan Strait.

 The Chinese authorities also warned Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party officials that any attempt to use force to resist reunification or collusion with outside forces in pursuit of the so-called “Taiwan independence” is doomed to failure.  Accordingly, the Taiwanese side responded, considering that arms sales to it will enhance the early warning capabilities of the Taiwanese island against long-range ballistic missiles from Beijing.

 It is expected that after this provocative move by Washington to supply arms to Taiwan, several US defense companies will be targeted for sanctions by Beijing over arms sales to Taiwan.  Where China imposed sanctions on the well-known American military industries company, “Lockheed Martin”, and the Raytheon Missile and Defense Company, a unit of Raytheon Technologies, as it placed them on their “unreliable entities” list, due to arms sales to Taiwan by the United States of America. Accordingly, work and residence permits for senior managers of the two US military companies will be revoked, and they will be banned from entering the country as a punishment for Taiwan’s arms sales and violation of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Dr.Nadia Helmy
Dr.Nadia Helmy
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit