China Raps US Over Arms to Taiwan 08/22 06:23
China "will not sit idly by" if the U.S. proceeds with a sale of advanced
F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan, a senior Chinese army officer said Thursday while
warning of other potential countermeasures in addition to punishing foreign
firms involved in the deal.
BEIJING (AP) -- China "will not sit idly by" if the U.S. proceeds with a
sale of advanced F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan, a senior Chinese army officer
said Thursday while warning of other potential countermeasures in addition to
punishing foreign firms involved in the deal.
Beijing considered the sale a violation of previous U.S. commitments to
China regarding the island it considers its own territory to be annexed by
force if necessary, Col. Chen Rongdi, chief of the Institute of War Studies at
the Academy of Military Sciences, said. He did not elaborate on what additional
measures China might take.
"China will not sit idly by," Chen said at a forum sponsored by China's
official journalists' association. "Of course, we don't rule out additional
Beijing has repeatedly said it will levy sanctions against U.S. companies
linked to a planned $8 billion sale and demanded Washington cancel it
immediately. China has made such threats regarding previous arms sales by the
U.S., but they've had limited effect because the companies involved are either
important to China's own nascent commercial aviation industry or have little or
no business with the country.
Most recently, China pledged sanctions against the U.S. in July when the
Trump administration said it was considering a $2.2 billion sale of tanks and
air missiles to Taiwan.
Both Chen and Col. Cao Yanzong, a research fellow at the institute,
dismissed the ultimate effectiveness of the F-16V planes, given China's
overwhelming air superiority and arsenal of short to medium-range missiles.
The sale would be of little use "beyond making profits for American arms
makers, while further undermining relations between China and the U.S. and
China and Taiwan," said Cao.
China fiercely opposes all arms sales to Taiwan but has specifically
objected to advanced fighter jets such as the F-16V, whose Active
Electronically Scanned Array, or AESA, radar is compatible with the F-35
stealth fighters operated by the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marines. The U.S. is
also installing upgraded electronics, including AESA radars, on Taiwan's
existing fleet of 144 older F-16s.
The Trump administration informed Congress last week that it plans to sell
Taiwan 66 of the planes and the U.S. State Department this week approved the
sale. It now goes before Congress, where Taiwan enjoys strong bipartisan
Despite a lack of formal diplomatic ties, U.S. law requires Washington to
ensure Taiwan has the means to defend itself.
Taiwan is a democratically governed island that broke away from the
Communist Party-ruled mainland during a civil war in 1949.
China has been stepping up military, diplomatic and economic pressure
against the administration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused
to embrace Beijing's "one-China principle" that regards Taiwan as Chinese
A semi-annual defense ministry report issued last month stated that China
"has the firm resolve and the ability" to take control of Taiwan. "We make no
promise to renounce the use of force, and reserve the option of taking all
necessary measures," the report said.
The document, titled "China's National Defense in the New Era," also pointed
to specific intimidation tactics cited by many as partial justification for
strengthening Taiwan's defenses.
"Aiming at safeguarding national unity, China's armed forces strengthen
military preparedness with emphasis on the sea," the report said. "By sailing
ships and flying aircraft around Taiwan, the armed forces send a stern warning
to the 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces."