US approves $2.37bn arms sales to Taiwan

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Defense of Taiwan Post-2016 Elections: Legacy and New Challenges of Military Transformation.

The US State Department has approved the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan in a deal worth as much as $2.37bn, the Pentagon said on Monday.

The move came days after the State Department approved the potential sale of three other weapons systems to Taiwan, including sensors, missiles and artillery with a potential value of $1.8bn.

“The US arms sales to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, and seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns it,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing on Monday.

Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Raytheon were named as targets of the sanctions, as well as “the US individuals and entities who played an egregious role”, according to Zhao.

These three days, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper joined Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar for the third annual U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi, India.

During the meeting, Secretary Pompeo reaffirmed the increasingly close U.S.-India relationship and the shared goals among like-minded Indo-Pacific countries for regional security and prosperity.

The Secretary and his counterparts also discussed ways to advance the 21st century defense partnership.

Esper said in a press briefing, “Defense information sharing both at the service and joint service level is another area in which we are making significant progress.  It is important to note that we achieved a significant milestone today with the signing of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement.”

The defense secretary told that recently, this cooperation was demonstrated by the combined exercise between the Indian Navy and the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in July.

“When confronted by tyranny by the Chinese Communist Party, you can be sure that the United States will stand alongside its partners.  We will – look, there’s things India can do that we can’t.  There’s things that we can do that it can’t achieve alone,” Pompeo said at an interview with Times Now after the talks.

“When it comes to the Chinese Communist Party, the entire world is the frontline to the ambition, national rejuvenation.  The goal of General Secretary Xi is not local; it is not regional.  That desire is global.  You see it in the Belt and Road Initiative that extends throughout Africa and through the Middle East.  This is a global challenge, ” Pompeo said.

Pompeo told the United States understands the challenge.  “You can watch the things that we’re doing.  We’ve made it more difficult for China to invest in the United States.  We just want fair and reciprocal trading terms.  We’ve built up our military like at no time in history.  Our diplomacy has shifted,” Pompeo continued, “We now understand the challenge that is presented by this seemingly great power.  And we stand ready to assist all freedom-loving nations all across the world in their time of need.”

On October 23, Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over a major meeting commemorating the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the Korean War (known in China as the “War to Resist American Aggression and Aid Korea”). It was the second event in five days to feature Xi providing his interpretation of the conflict, following a visit to a museum exhibit on October 19.

While calling the end of the Korean War a triumph for “peace and justice” and a blow to “imperialism”, Xi warns that “the road ahead will not be smooth,” and advises the Chinese that it will need the martial spirit of the war to overcome today’s challenges. “It is necessary to speak to invaders in the language they know: that is, use war to prevent war… and use a victory to win peace and respect,” Xi said.

The central committee of the Chinese Communist Party led by Xi, is having an important session in Beijing from Oct. 26 to 29 to discuss a proposal for national development for the next five years — from 2021 to 2025.

It is expected under the threat of decoupling from the west, Beijing will emphasize ways to ensure national security in industries such as technology while announcing measures to boost domestic consumption.

By Winnie Troppie

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