The State Department has approved a potential $300 million arms sale to Taiwan to support the island’s tactical information systems, the Pentagon announced on December 15.
According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the deal includes life-cycle support and equipment for Command, Control, Communications, and Computer (C4) capabilities, a military information system that’s meant to synchronize joint forces.
The State Department approval begins a period when Congress reviews the sale and can block it, but there is near-unanimous bipartisan support for arming Taiwan. China is strongly opposed to US arms sales to Taiwan and condemned the deal.
“This move seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests, harms peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a wrong message to separatist forces seeking ‘Taiwan independence.’ China deplores and strongly opposes this and has made solemn démarches to the US side,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Monday.
“No matter how many weapons the US provides to the Taiwan region, it will neither change the historic course of China’s reunification, nor weaken the Chinese people’s firm will in safeguarding our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wang said.
Since the US severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, the US has continued to sell weapons to the island, which China views as a violation of the normalization deal, specifically the third joint communiqué issued in 1982 that stated the US did “not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan” and would gradually “reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution.”
But US officials at the time of the communiqué made clear it was open to interpretation and assured Taiwan there would be no set date for the termination of arms sales to the island. This year, the US has increased military support for Taiwan by providing military aid funded by the US government for the first time since 1979, a step that has infuriated Beijing.