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US Politicians to Further Endanger Peace in Straits With Ill-intentioned New Act

On July 28, two Congressmen introduced the bipartisan Taiwan Peace Through Strength Act in an attempt to reinforce US’ support of Taiwan island, following Senator Marco Rubio, who introduced the Senate version of the bill in June. According to a press release of US House of Representatives, the act advocates to clarify US authorities to arm Taiwan island in the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and to apply Ukraine munitions production capacity authorities to Taiwan. These politicians’ goal was more blatant in the June version: update obsolete policy guidance based on “arms of a defensive character” and to provide arms to Taiwan island, be it in defensive or offensive nature.

In other words, some US politicians are promoting the legalization of selling offensive weapons to Taiwan island. If the act is approved, signed and ultimately carried out, it will be a huge breach of US’ own law – TRA. 

The TRA, enacted in 1979, requires the US to provide only defensive weapons to Taiwan island. However, Washington has long broken through the limit by selling F-16 and F-16V fighter jets, as well as various missiles to the island. 

Before the new act, the US needed to argue the arms sales were for defense purpose. Yet after the act, Washington no longer needs to come up with any excuse. If passed, the new act will uncover a rabbit hole of unscrupulous American arms sales to Taiwan, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the American Studies Center of Fudan University, told the Global Times. 

On the same day, the US announced a $345 million military aid package for Taiwan island. It is the first time the US has transferred weapons to the island under the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the US to pull equipment directly from its existing stockpiles and provide it to others. Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times that the move opens up a green channel to provide weapons and equipment to the Taiwan authorities in the future in a whirlwind manner. 

Washington now hopes to deter the PLA via boosting more offensive weapons on the Taiwan island. The US has long sought to turn the island into a porcupine. However, no matter how hard Washington tries, the military strength of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan island will not be on the same level. Any attempt to change the power balance across the Taiwan Straits will fail. 

Even if the US arms the island with all kinds of weapons, making it full of thorns, a porcupine is still far from being a match for an elephant, Senior Colonel Zhou Bo (ret), an expert from the Center for International Security and Strategy, Tsinghua University, told the Global Times. 

When the US steps up playing the Taiwan card, it is also sending a wrong signal to Taiwan independence secessionists – the US supports them fully to continue seeking secessionism, firmly acting as a US strategic pawn against China. 

If pro-independence secessionists, under such instigation of the US, take reckless actions and challenge the red line of one-China principle, leaving the mainland with no alternative but to use force for reunification, the ultimate result will only be Taiwan turning into scorched earth. The US won’t defend Taiwan. It will, at most, provide more weapons and ammunition to prolong Taiwan’s survival, making the island fight to the last drop of its own people. In US playbook, Taiwan island is destined to end up being a cannon fodder, a sacrifice, while the US will only calculate how much benefit sacrificing Taiwan can bring, experts said. 

The US should review what its collusion with the Taiwan secessionists authorities has achieved over the years. The so-called median line in the Taiwan Straits hardly exists anymore. The Chinese mainland now conducts frequent military drills near Taiwan island, during which a number of aircraft and naval ships either fly across the median line or operate around the island, experts said. 

The more the US arms Taiwan island, the more unbearable pressure the latter will feel. “Beijing still aims for peaceful reunification. But if the US also hopes to avoid conflict in the Taiwan Straits, it must let China believe there is still peace to achieve,” Zhou said. Unfortunately, arming Taiwan with offensive weapons will do exactly the opposite.

Source: Global Times