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US’ Latest Military Aid to Taiwan Island Further Endangers Peace in the Straits; Youth Will Become Cannon Fodder if DPP Continues Down Wrong Path: Official

With the secessionist deputy regional leader on the island of Taiwan Lai Ching-te, who is also a candidate for the next regional leader election, scheming to make a transit visit to the US in August, tensions around the island of Taiwan continue to build.

The US on Friday announced a military aid package worth $345 million for the island of Taiwan, which is the Biden administration’s first major package drawing on the US’ own stockpiles to help the island counter the Chinese mainland, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
The package would include defense, education and training for the armed forces on the island of Taiwan, as Washington will send man-portable air defense systems, intelligence and surveillance capabilities, firearms and missiles to the island, the report said, citing the White House and anonymous US officials.

‘Expendable card’

It marked the latest US plan to deliver weapons to the island of Taiwan among many of its attempts to build the island into a “porcupine,” which is supposed to defend itself with its spikes, deterring others and hurting them should they attack.

With this “porcupine plan,” the US further intensified arms sales to the island over the past few years, including Volcano mine-laying systems, HIMARS multiple rocket launch systems, M1A2 main battle tanks, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, SLAM-ER cruise missiles, Patriot surface-to-air missiles, Stinger man-portable missiles and F-16V fighter jets.

In response to the latest military aid, Chen Binhua, a spokesperson at the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said on Saturday that China firmly opposes US providing weapons to China’s Taiwan region.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities’ stubborn insistence on the secessionist position of “Taiwan independence,” attempting to seek “independence” by relying on the US and by using force, begging for US arms sale or military aid, and enhancing military collusion with the US are moves that are making Taiwan a powder keg and ammunition depot and have increased the danger and risk of a conflict in the Taiwan Straits, Chen said.

If the DPP is allowed to go on the path to the end, the youth will only become cannon fodders, Chen said.

The US is seeking every means to instigate contradictions and estrangements between the Chinese mainland and the island of Taiwan, attempting to turn people on the island of Taiwan into cannon fodders and have them to resist reunification by force, at the cost of lives of local people, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times.

US weapons such as mine-laying systems provided to the island are also double-edged swords that could remain threats to civilians on the island decades after deployment, causing serious humanitarian threats, observers said. US’ providing of a large number of weapons, even possibly to civilians, will only raise risks of collateral damage, they said.

It exposed the US scheme to use the island of Taiwan as an expendable card to serve US hegemonic goals in containing and suppressing China, without considering lives of people on the island. 

Converting the island of Taiwan into a “porcupine” is a plan that benefits only the US, and selling such amounts of overpriced, yet outdated weapons also gains huge profits for the US’ military-industrial complex, observers said.

Amphibious armored vehicles attached to a brigade of the PLA Navy’s Marine Corps make their way to the beach-head during a maritime offense and defense training exercise recently. Photo:China Military

Wrong signals

The US has been rallying up its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region and even from other parts of the world to hold joint exercises on China’s doorsteps, often bringing in the Taiwan question as a subject of drills. Analysts pointed out that the US is using its Asian allies and partners as forward deployment bases and at the same time treating them as cannon fodder.

One of the recent exercises was held in the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea near the island of Taiwan in June. Two US Navy carrier strike groups featuring the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan operated with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter carrier JS Izumo and surface units from Canada and France, according to press releases from the US 7th Fleet at the time.

Earlier this year, the US and the Philippines held their largest combat exercises in decades in the Philippines and waters across the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits. The US was granted access to four additional military bases in the Philippines, enhancing its military tactical flexibility in the region.

While the PLA is preparing for a scenario in which US forces militarily interfere on the Taiwan question, it remains questionable if the US is really committed to doing so at the cost of American soldiers’ lives. 

The US’ Taiwan Relations Act states that the US will enable the island to maintain sufficient self-defense capabilities, but the US does not have a mutual defense treaty with the island and is not obligated to defend it, CNBC reported.

The US is pushing its allies to the frontline of a potential conflict to face its strategic opponent. With the US being a country from outside of the region, such a conflict is far away from US homeland, but countries within the region tied up to the US chariot would have to face cost themselves, another Chinese mainland military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times.

By provocatively sending warplanes and warships through the Taiwan Straits, the US is encouraging the DPP authorities to confront the Chinese mainland, and showing the US’ strong stance against China, the expert said.

Such provocative transits by a small number of aircraft or vessels are of little military significance compared to the PLA’s growing capabilities, but they send wrong signals to the “Taiwan independence” secessionist forces and other countries in the region, deceiving them and having them confront the PLA, the expert said.

A computer-generated animation released on April 9, 2023 shows conventional missiles and long-range rocket launchers on land, warplanes in the air and warships at sea simultaneously launching attacks from multiple directions. Photo: screenshot of animation from PLA Eastern Theater Command

Seeing the truth

Some people on the island of Taiwan have over the years seen through the US’ malicious intensions. 

A commentary published on a media outlet on the island in May said that the US is selling the fear of war, with the US government, Congress and even normal people seeing the Taiwan Straits as the most possible place for a conflict could break out. And then, US arms dealers came to the island to sell weapons.

The Chinese mainland does not renounce the use of force, and the PLA has demonstrated its capabilities with large-scale military exercises that encircled the island in August last year and April this year following provocative collusion moves between the US house speakers and the DPP authorities.

The exercises showed that the PLA can form a blockade can cut off energy supply routes, reinforcement routes and escape routes of “Taiwan independence” forces, as well as their hopes for US military reinforcement, Zhao Xiaozhuo, a research fellow at China’s Academy of Military Sciences, told the Global Times.

The move demonstrated the PLA’s firm will and strong capability in thwarting all “Taiwan independence” secessionist moves and external interference attempts and safeguarding national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, Zhao said.

Source : GlobalTimes