In this image taken from video, Taiwanese Air Force F-16V fighter jets taxi along a runway during a drill in Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. Taiwan’s Air Force pilots drilled on Wednesday to simulate an interception of Chinese aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. (AP Photo)InternationalIndiaAfricaThe Biden administration has approved a transfer of military supplies to Taiwan under the foreign military financing (FMF) scheme, a program typically used for sovereign nations. What’s behind the move and the island’s militarization?The Biden administration has approved an $80 million military package for Taiwan, an island considered by Beijing as China’s inalienable part.The package comes within the framework of the State Department’s foreign military financing (FMF), which is usually instrumentalized when Washington wants to disburse aid to a sovereign country. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has always been critical of the US weapons delivery to Taiwan. The use of the FMF program risks becoming yet another irritant as it hints at Washington’s apparent snubbing of Beijing’s One-China principle under which Taiwan cannot be regarded as a sovereign nation.»Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act and our longstanding One-China policy, which has not changed, the United States makes available to Taiwan defense articles and services necessary to enable it to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. The United States has an abiding interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is critical to regional and global security and prosperity,» the State Department’s press statement reads.MilitaryWashington OKs Taiwan Aid Under Sovereign State Program as US-China Tensions Persist31 August, 00:25 GMT
Why is Timing Important?
Washington’s arms deliveries to Taiwan per se are nothing new, per Thomas W. Pauken II, the author of US vs China: From Trade War to Reciprocal Deal, and a consultant on Asia-Pacific affairs. Still, the timing is curious, given the latest havoc in Hawaii, the House GOP probe into the Bidens, and blunders of the present US administration, he noted.»It looks like the Biden administration is trying to blame China for the problems in this world because Biden is in a lot of trouble right now after what happened in Hawaii. They think that they can distract American voters by focusing more attention on China. This Taiwan defense weapons bill is just simply a distraction for American voters,» Pauken said.»I mean, it’s no secret that the US has always had close relations with Taiwan and that they’ve delivered weapons to Taiwan before. And this is just a case of continuing-on of that type of relationship. As I said, this is mostly about timing. Hawaii fires are an absolute disaster for Biden. People are going to start asking questions about why are hundreds of children missing in Hawaii. And that to distract American voters from talking about Hawaii. They will try things like delivering more weapons to Taiwan, thinking that Americans would be more interested in that issue than on what happened in Hawaii,» the Asia-Pacific expert continued.Even though Beijing’s One-China Policy stipulates that Taiwan is part of the PRC, Washington has long maintained relations with the island.AsiaWhat’s Behind Biden’s Resolve to Defend Taiwan Against Beijing?23 May 2022, 19:32 GMTIn 1949, the Western-backed Nationalist Party of China, called the Kuomintang (KMT), lost to the Communist Party of China (CPC) and fled to Taiwan while gaining the backing of the US and allies. Taiwan and the US were joint participants of the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty between 1955 and 1979, with Washington continuing to back the Kuomintang-led leadership despite establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing and recognizing it as the sole legitimate government of China on January 1, 1979.Washington then issued three communiqués in 1972, 1979 and 1982. In the first communiqué, the US acknowledged that «all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China.» In the second, the US declared that it would end formal political relations with Taiwan while continuing to maintain economic and cultural ties. In the third, the White House vowed to reduce arms sales to Taiwan under the condition that «peace was observed across the Taiwan Strait.»WorldXi Says BRICS States Should Step Up as Mediators in Pressing Issues23 August, 14:23 GMT
How Does China React to US Arming Taiwan?
In response to Biden’s latest weapons package to Taipei, China’s Foreign Ministry signaled «strong dissatisfaction» with the arms sale, stressing that Washington’s move has violated «China’s sovereignty and security interests» and undermined «peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.»If the US insists on sending weapons, there really isn’t much to be done about stopping it, Pauken noted. However, the unfolding situation helps China to present itself as a peace-maker vis-à-vis a more aggressive Washington.»It does show that the US is acting much more aggressively and looks like they are more eager for some type of military conflict by increasing the weapons going out to Taiwan. It’s more about a message than anything else, but the message looks very strong that now they’re trying to antagonize Washington, is trying to antagonize China and to try to get them to act more reactionary towards their moves. And as I said, it’s mostly to distract the American voters from a lot of the blunders and terrible mistakes that Biden has made as president in the White House,» said Pauken.For its part, China has repeatedly used various international platforms to emphasize global security as Beijing’s priority. WorldBeijing Bets on BRICS as Biden Ramps Up Tech and Trade War18 August, 16:45 GMTIn February, the PRC released the Global Security Initiative (GSI) by Chairman Xi Jinping, urging the world to abandon the Cold War mentality and hegemonism. Later, China brokered a historic settlement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In addition, Beijing released its own plan for the Ukraine peace deal. During the 15th Summit of BRICS, the Chinese leadership outlined the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind which meant building a world of shared prosperity and promoting common development. Beijing’s peace messages come in contrast with Washington’s military build-up in the Asia Pacific which started to disturb even the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) players, which feared a new nuclear arms race in the region.However, it’s likely that Washington will continue to push ahead with the militarization of Taiwan and the Asia Pacific region in general, as it offers good revenues for the US military-industrial sector which is currently enjoying the ongoing Ukraine conflict bonanza.»The US military-industrial complex greatly benefits from this type of relationship and the weapons that are delivered because Taiwan does then, from what I understand, pay full price for the weapon. They don’t pay for discounts. Obviously, Taiwan is a good customer for the US defense contractors. People in Taiwan apparently are paying full price for these weapons. That’s why they keep pushing the Taiwan issue, because you have people in Taiwan willing to pay very expensive prices for weapons, whereas maybe in other countries they may not pay the same price for the same weapons,» Pauken concluded.AnalysisUS Military Recruiting Woes Stem From Unending Wars, Not Likely to End Soon23 August, 00:35 GMT