The guided missile destroyer USS Halsey conducts a routine transit through the Taiwan Strait on August 30.
Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. pushes arms sales surge to Taiwan, needling China – sourcesWASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems, including mines, cruise missiles and drones to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.
Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which U.S. military sales to the island were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing.
But the Trump administration has become more aggressive with China in 2020 and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, a lingering trade war and disputes about the spread of the novel coronavirus.
At the same time Taiwan’s desire to buy weapons increased after President Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected here in January and has made strengthening Taiwan’s defenses a top priority.
Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue. Beijing says it is a Chinese province, and has denounced the Trump administration’s support for the island.
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WNU Editor: Taiwan is saying that there is no surge in US military sales …. Defense Ministry dismisses ‘speculation’ about new U.S. arms sales (Focus Taiwan). I am not sure about that. China’s massive arms build-up followed by threats to invade Taiwan has changed the geopolitical balance in the region. Reports that US arms sales will surge to Taiwan is a natural reaction to the current condition.
Update #1: The US will definitely need to stay firm when it comes to Taiwan …. The US is standing firm with Taiwan, and it’s making that point very clear (Brad Lendon, CNN).
Update #2: China is voicing its opposition to even economic discussions between the U.S. and Taiwan …. China Warns US Over US-Taiwan Economic Talks (US News and World Report/AP)