With the Trump administration cracking down on China, relations between Washington and Beijing have not been great. It’s possible that things are about to get worse.
Fox Business reports that China has threatened retaliation should the United States proceed with an arms deal involving Taiwan.
On Wednesday, the State Department has announced that it has entered into a roughly $1.8 billion arms deal with Taiwan.
Included in the deal would be three weapons systems: rocket launchers, sensors, and artillery. According to the BBC, “The deal includes 135 precision-guided cruise missiles, as well as mobile light rocket launchers, and air reconnaissance pods that can be attached to fighter jets.”
The purpose of the deal is, in the words of Taiwan’s defense ministry, to “build credible combat capabilities and strengthen the development of asymmetric warfare.”
To provide further context, China and Taiwan each have different views of Taiwan. Taiwan, for example, considers itself to be an independent, autonomous country, and the United States recognizes it as such.
China, however, looks at the island as still being under the mainland’s rule. Recently, China has taken steps that suggest that it is willing to use force to make sure that Taiwan understands that it is under China’s control.
And so, it is pretty clear why China would frown upon a United States-Taiwan arms deal.
On Thursday night, China’s ministry of defense issued a statement threatening retaliation against the United States should it go ahead with the arms deal.
The ministry of defense demanded that the arms deal be called off. It also demanded that all interactions between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries be put to an end.
What exactly China is threatening was never really specified. The Chinese ministry of defense at one point says that the transaction and the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan ought to be ended in order to “avoid serious repercussions for relations between China and the U.S. and their armed forces and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” They added that should the U.S. and Taiwan proceed, it would “compel the Chinese side to fight back resolutely.”
President Trump has shown a resoluteness of his own in dealing with China. It is unlikely that these threats are going to have their intended effect.