US plans latest arms sale to Taiwan, 'PLA will be ready'

By Liu Xuanzun Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/8 17:42:17

A WZ-10 attack helicopter attached to an army aviation brigade under the PLA 80th Group Army lifts off for a round-the-clock flight training exercise on November 19, 2020. Photo:China Military


The US is planning the sale of a battlefield communications system to Taiwan island, marking the sixth US arms sale to the island this year, as the Taiwan authorities claimed on Tuesday such exchanges have become "routine." 

By deploying this system, the island's military will become fully reliant on the US, and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will be ready if the island resists reunification by force, Chinese mainland military experts said on Tuesday.

The US State Department has approved a possible sale of a Field Information Communications System and related equipment to the island of Taiwan for an estimated cost of $280 million, with the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notifying the US Congress of this possible sale on Monday, according to a statement the DSCA released on its website.

China urges the US to immediately cancel related plans to sell arms to Taiwan, so as to prevent further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a regular press conference on Tuesday, in response to the planned US arms sale.

China will make proper and necessary responses according to how the situation develops, Hua said.

A field information communications system is part of a command system that can link basic combat units as well as command centers, Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

This kind of system is expected to have strong anti-jamming capability and be well-encrypted, but since it is a US-made system, its deployment in the Taiwan military will mean its entire command and combat system will be integrated into US' chain of command, and become fully reliant on the US, Song said.

Authorities on the island of Taiwan said that this will be the 11th US arms sale under the Trump administration in total and the sixth arms sale in 2020, and shows that US arms sales to the island have become a routine mechanism, Taiwan media reported on Tuesday.

The sale is expected to become effective after a month, Taiwan media said.

US arms sales to Taiwan are a forced act by the US on the island, which has no choice but to accept the overpriced weapons, equipment and systems, analysts said, noting that Taiwan is also being used as a US card in containing China.

In another routine act that analysts said is a response to the frequent military and political interactions between the US and the island of Taiwan, the PLA has been frequently conducting exercises and patrols near the Taiwan Straits for more than two months. Taiwan media reported that PLA warplanes approached the island in 25 out of 31 days in October, and 26 out of 30 days in November.

This has continued in December, as PLA aircraft have edged near the island in six days as of Monday, the seventh day of the month, Taipei-based newspaper the Liberty Times reported on Monday.

Song said that PLA's exercises and patrols are no longer mere warnings to the Taiwan authorities, as warnings no longer seem to be enough.

"The PLA should continue to conduct exercises and prepare to perfection for a possible future battle in the Taiwan Straits. If the day comes that military action is needed against the island, the PLA would be able to immediately turn the exercises into real operations and resolve the Taiwan question," Song said. 

Chinese mainland observers said that the PLA should further enhance its military preparedness against the island, particularly under the current situation. Actions like flying warplanes through the island are viable options, they said.

Posted in: MILITARY

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