The recent arms deal with Taiwan, wherein the US has agreed to sell a third-generation American battle tank known as the Abrams tanks – along with the Stinger missiles, which is a Man-Portable Air-Defense System, has hurt the sentiments of China amid the unsettling trade relations between the countries.
As per Taiwan’s requests, the State Department approved the potential sales, along with the sale of trade related equipments to the Chinese territory. The deal includes 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks and some 250 Stinger missiles. The cost of the tanks is estimated up to $2.2 billion, while the Stinger missiles are estimated to range about $223 million.
The approving of the arms deal was notified to the Congress on Monday. Some officials believe that the current agreement might severe the ongoing US negotiations with China, which the US President earlier termed as largely improving.
It is not the first time that the US has approved to provide arms to Taiwan. Under the Taiwan Relations Act enacted since 1979, the US is bound to promote peace, security, and stability in the territory, by fulfilling its arms requirements.
China has often tried to use force over Taiwan to resolve the unification issue, bringing in Chinese rule in the territory, which the latter has largely condemned. Hence, by indulging in an arms deal Taiwan aims to safeguard its interests against China’s deceptive measures.
Earlier this year, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said that the requested arms would not only enhance the country’s land and air capabilities, but also strengthen the military morale. She further added that the deal would portray the US as one of the greatest examples in fulfilling its duties and commitments. The analysts have claimed that though it would strengthen Taiwan’s defense, it would also give a clear message that the US stands with Taiwan in its rough circumstances.
The Chinese officials have largely criticized the arms deal by firmly standing in opposition to the “US arms sales to Taiwan and US military contact with Taiwan”. In response to Beijing’s criticism, the Pentagon agency has claimed that the tank sale serves the “US national, economic, and security interests by supporting” Taiwan’s “continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability”.
The Pentagon further added that with the help of the Stinger missiles Taiwan would have strong security and defensive capability in future. This would allow the political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the territory.
As Taiwan welcomes military advantages with the help of the US arms deal, bringing in close competition with China, the Chinese officials remain upset. They fear that with the latest technology and strong military modernization efforts, Taiwan might start a war to seek formal independence from China with support from Washington.
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