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Beijing Pledges 'Firm, Forceful Measures' Against $95 Million US Sale of Patriot Missiles to Taiwan

Sputnik News


Since Russia began its special operation in Ukraine on February 24, American leaders have called for buttressing Taiwan's defenses, claiming China could soon launch an invasion of the autonomous island. However, Beijing has said the two situations are not at all similar, as Taiwan is a part of China.

On Tuesday, the US State Department authorized the sale of $95 million worth of Patriot Air Defense System equipment to Taiwan.

"The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) has requested to buy Contractor Technical Assistance support consisting of training, planning, fielding, deployment, operation, maintenance, and sustainment of the Patriot Air Defense System, associated equipment, and logistics support elements; as well as Patriot Ground Support Equipment, spare parts, and consumables as required in support of Technical Assistance activities," the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a notice to Congress.

TECRO is Taiwan's liaison office in Washington, DC, which serves as an unofficial embassy due to the US's recognition of the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the legitimate government of all of China, including Taiwan.

The MIM-104 Patriot air defense system comes in several versions, but is generally capable of shooting down aircraft and ballistic missiles within 100 miles. Each truck-mounted launcher carries four missiles and works in conjunction with several other launchers, a communications unit, a command and control center, and a powerful radar array.

Beijing has sharply condemned the sale, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian telling reporters on Wednesday that US actions "seriously undermine China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and severely harm the China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

Zhao called on the US to respect the agreements it made in the three Joint Communiques, especially the August 17 Communique, in which Washington agreed to end its military support for the government on Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China (RoC).

"China will take firm and forceful measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and security interests," the spokesperson added.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, which coordinates Beijing's relations with Taipei, condemned the ruling Democratic Progressive Party for colluding with external forces to seek "independence" and political self interests, according to CGTN.

The RoC ruled all of China between the abdication of the last Chinese emperor in 1912 and the communist victory in the civil war in 1949, when the PRC was founded in Beijing. However, the Red Army was unable to cross the Taiwan Strait and conquer the island, so the republican government survived there. Both governments claim to be the legitimate Chinese government, but over the years, all but a handful of nations have switched their recognition from Taipei to Beijing, including the United States.

Despite this, the US continues to funnel support to Taiwan, including weapons, of which it has received billions of dollars worth in recent years as Chinese rhetoric about reunification has increased and the US has postured against China's rising economic, political and military power as a threat to US dominance.

US political demand for further military aid has increased since February 24, with US politicians and commanders alike warning that China could use the crisis in Ukraine to launch their own operation to reclaim Taiwan. Beijing has condemned and denied these accusations.

Mara Karlin, US assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month that Taiwan should be made "as prickly as possible" to deter a Chinese attack. This included sending more anti-air missiles and anti-ship torpedoes, but also training Taiwanese forces in asymmetric warfare in order to launch an insurgency against Chinese forces.

© Sputnik

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