Reported US’ plans for $500m worth weapons aid to Taiwan turn the island into a powder keg; reflect lack of sincerity to ease tensions: analysts
Published: May 06, 2023 07:24 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Analysts from the Chinese mainland warned on Saturday that a reported US plan to send $500 million worth of weapons aid to Taiwan using the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) [the same emergency authority that has been used 35 times for Ukraine] would further turn the island into a powder keg. This provocative move further proves the US' intent of using the island as a pawn to contain China while neglecting the safety of local residents.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters ran a report on Saturday, saying that US President Joe Biden's administration is moving ahead with plans to send a $500 million weapons package using the PDA. As a part of the 2023 budget, US Congress authorized up to $1 billion worth of weapons aid for the Taiwan island using PDA. The drawdown, which authorizes the president to transfer articles and services from US stockpiles without congressional approval during an emergency, would be the first from that $1 billion authorization, according to the report.

The Reuters report did not mention what would be included in the package while specific timing is also unknown.

The Biden administration deliberately disclosed its latest attempt at "playing Taiwan card" to the media, in an attempt to pressure China to facilitate visits by high-ranking officials such as US climate envoy John Kerry and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, especially at a time when the arrangement has not been confirmed by the Chinese side so far, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Lü said the combination of moves reflects Washington lacks the respect and sincerity to actually ease tensions with China, or to improve bilateral ties. "Even worse, the US is likely to continue its hard-line stance during potential high-level official contacts and try to legitimize its suppressing acts in fields such as trade and technology."

From the Donald Trump administration to the current Biden administration, the US is becoming increasingly belligerent in playing the Taiwan card to contain China, as Washington believes that this path is the most effective way, the expert noted.

Military expert and TV commentator Song Zhongping, told the Global Times that the US is aware that it is running out of effective methods to contain China and to create conflicts surrounding China through its so-called Indo-Pacific Strategy, therefore to make Chinese people fight each other across the Taiwan Straits becomes the only bad-faith act that US could take to serve its hegemonic and anti-China goals.

Analysts from the Chinese mainland are also concerned that a US weapon package to the island of Taiwan could prove the existence of the "US plan for the destruction of Taiwan," which surfaced on social media in Washington in mid-February through Garland Nixon, a renowned American radio program host, who quoted a White House insider as saying that Biden had revealed the US plan to destroy Taiwan.

Lethal US aid to Taiwan will never be free, and Washington is using secessionist DPP authorities to help clear out its unwanted stockpile of military inventory while draining every penny from the island, Song pointed out.

Turning the island of Taiwan into a powder keg brings about great danger, as the more weapons that are sent to Taiwan, the bigger illusion DPP authorities will have, and the more likely it will provoke the Chinese mainland, Song warned.

"US arms sales to the Taiwan region seriously violate the one-China principle and the Three China-US Joint Communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué. China firmly opposes them," Mao Ning, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told a routine press conference on Friday, commenting on questions concerning a delegation of 25 US arms dealers that visited the island and held talks with the DPP authorities during a so-called "defense forum."

It is further proof that the US is turning Taiwan into a "powder keg," which only spells trouble for our Taiwan compatriots, Mao said, while urging the US to abide by the one-China principle and the Three China-US Joint Communiqués, stop arms sales to and military contact with Taiwan, and stop creating factors that could cause tensions in the Taiwan Straits.