Taiwan: China says ready to ‘crush’ Taiwan’s autonomy as US prepares major weapons package and sends advisers

BEIJING (Reuters) – China stands ready to “resolutely crush any form of Taiwanese independence”, its military said on Tuesday, as the United States prepares to step up the sale of defensive weapons and other forms of military assistance to self-governing island democracy.
A recent increase in exchanges between the US and Taiwanese military is an “extremely bad and dangerous move”, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Tan Kefei said in a statement and video posted online.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army “continues to strengthen military training and preparations and will resolutely crush any form of Taiwanese independence secession and outside interference attempts, and resolutely uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity”, Tan said, referring to Taiwan’s closest ally. , United States.
China claims the island of 23 million people as its own territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.
With the world’s largest navy, latest-generation fighter jets and a huge arsenal of ballistic missiles, China has bolstered its threats by sending warplanes and warships into the waters and airspace around Taiwan. With over 2 million members, the PLA also ranks as the largest standing army in the world, although transporting even part of the force in the event of an invasion is seen as a huge logistical challenge.
Along with daily air and sea incursions around Taiwan, Beijing has held military drills in and around the side-dividing Taiwan Straits, seen in part as a rehearsal for a blockade or invasion that would have massive consequences for the security and economies around the world.
Such actions are aimed at harassing the Taiwan military and intimidating politicians and voters who will choose a new president and legislature next year.
The measures appear to have had limited effect, with most Taiwanese strongly in favor of maintaining their de facto independent status. Politicians and other public figures from Europe and the United States have also traveled to Taipei frequently to show their support, despite their countries’ lack of formal diplomatic ties out of respect for Beijing.
Tan’s comments were prompted by a question from an unidentified reporter about reports that US President Joe Biden is preparing to approve a $500 million arms sale to Taiwan, as well as sending more 100 soldiers to evaluate training methods and offer suggestions for improvement. the island’s defences.
Taiwan enjoys strong support from the U.S. Democratic and Republican parties, which have called on the Biden administration to follow through on nearly $19 billion worth of military items approved for sale but not yet delivered to Taiwan.
Administration officials have blamed delivery delays on production bottlenecks related to problems from the COVID-19 pandemic to limited capacity and increased demand for weapons to help Ukraine. . Biden’s move would allow the export of items from existing U.S. military stockpiles, expediting the delivery of at least some of the equipment Taiwan needs to deter or repel any Chinese attack.
Out-of-stock items include Harpoon anti-ship missiles, F-16 fighter jets, shoulder-fired Javelin and Stinger missiles and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, a launcher. -rockets and multiple missiles mounted on a truck that became a crucial weapon for Ukrainian troops fighting the invading Russian forces.
Tan’s comments were in line with Beijing’s standard tone on what he calls the “core of China’s fundamental interests”. The two sides separated at the end of a civil war in 1949 and Beijing sees bringing Taiwan under its control as key to asserting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Attempts to “seek independence by relying on the United States” and “seek independence through military power” are a “dead end”, Tan said.
With US-China relations at an all-time low and Taiwanese unreceptive to Beijing’s demands for political concessions on unification, concerns are growing over the likelihood of open conflict involving all three parties and possibly US allies such as Japan.
China’s diplomatic and economic support for Russia after its invasion of Ukraine has also heightened tensions with Washington. Beijing is believed to be closely studying Moscow’s military failures in the conflict, while Western willingness to support Kyiv is seen by some as a test of its determination to side with Taiwan in the event of a conflict with China.


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