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U.S. Official Visits Taiwan Amid Rising Tensions With China

  • September 18, 2020

The Trump administration has also stepped up military support for Taiwan in recent years through increased arms sales. It is pushing the sale of seven large packages of weapons to Taiwan, including missiles that would allow Taiwanese jets to hit Chinese targets in the event of a conflict, U.S. officials familiar with the proposals said. If approved by Congress, the packages, valued in the billions, would be one of the largest weapons transfers in recent years to the island.

China has reacted angrily. On Thursday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official in Beijing said that Mr. Krach’s visit undermined relations between Beijing and Washington and warned that China would respond “as necessary.” In an editorial about the report of the new arms sale, Global Times, a nationalist tabloid owned by the Chinese Communist Party, said, “Once the People’s Liberation Army dispatches troops to reunify the island of Taiwan, the military equipment from the U.S. will be nothing but decorations.”

Since the beginning of the year, China has stepped up its military activities around the island. Chinese fighter jets have crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait and flown into the island’s air defense identification zone with increasing frequency. The Chinese military has also recently conducted a spate of anti-ship ballistic missile tests, which experts said were intended as an explicit warning to the United States.

Hawkish voices have emerged in China’s state-run news media urging Beijing to adopt a more confrontational approach toward the United States over Taiwan.

“At a time when our bottom line is being tested again and again, can we escalate in a crisis?” Jin Yinan, an influential Chinese military strategist, told the Communist Party-controlled China National Radio last week. “If we can’t escalate in a crisis, we’re left with nothing else but oral protests, and then we’ll lose control over a Taiwan Strait crisis.”

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