US Skirts Chinas “One China” Policy And Sells to Taiwan
A bipartisan group of senators urged President Donald Trump on Friday to move ahead on delayed arms sales to Taiwan amid congressional concern the White House is ready to curry favor with Beijing at Taipei’s expense.
Four Republicans and four Democrats wrote a letter to Trump urging him to maintain firm U.S. support for Taiwan, including providing weapons it needs to defend itself against China, regardless of Washington’s diplomatic initiatives with Beijing.
The Chinese people “have every right to be outraged” by the new $1.4 billion US arms deal with Taiwan, Beijing has said, arguing that the sale means the Trump administration is contradicting earlier statements on maintaining peace in the region.
Washington has made the “wrong decision to sell arms to Taiwan in disregard of China’s strong representations,” reads a statement released on Friday by the Chinese embassy in the US.
The foreign ministry in Beijing said Thursday’s $1.4bn deal had “severely damaged China’s security and sovereignty”, and that Taiwan was “an indispensable part of China’s territory”.
It added that Beijing had made official protests to US officials in both capitals.
The US move to impose sanctions on Bank of Dandong, a Chinese lender that the White House has accused of laundering money for North Korea, also elicited a rebuke from Beijing.
The weapons sale, announced by Washington on Thursday, requires congressional approval, and comes two years after President Barack Obama announced a $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan.
The current arms deal includes maintenance support for early-warning radar, high-speed anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and missile components. Previous US arms packages also included two navy frigates as well as anti-tank missiles and amphibious attack vehicles.
“The wrong move” undertaken by the Trump administration came into conflict with “the consensus reached by the two presidents in Mar-a-Lago and the positive development momentum of the China-US relationship,” the embassy asserted, urging the US to reverse the deal.
China considers Taiwan a renegade province that must be united with the mainland. Beijing insists that the world community stick to the ‘One China policy’, meaning that countries seeking diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China must break official ties to Taiwan, and vice versa.
“If this is, in fact, intentional timing, this does represent a change of tone,” he said. “The Americans would clearly be aware that this is going to irritate the Chinese. It’s not leaving room for the Chinese to save face.”
While Congress must approve the sale of weapons to Taiwan, little opposition is expected as the US is obliged to help Taipei defend itself under the Taiwan Relations Act.
Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s president, welcomed the arms sales while insisting she would continue to seek “constructive dialogue” with Beijing, which has tried to isolate her pro-independence government.
Despite his election campaign promise to counter China, President Donald Trump agreed to respect the ‘One China’ policy during an April meeting with his Chinese counterpart. However, the Trump administration has since demanded that Beijing put more pressure on North Korea to rein in its nuclear and missile programs.
Also on Thursday, the US announced sanctions against a Chinese bank for alleged money laundering on behalf of North Korea. The restrictions also extended to two Chinese citizens as well as a shipping company for allegedly helping Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.