Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama Administration to Sell Weapons to Taiwan

It started with tariffs against Chinese-made steel pipes and tires last year. Then earlier this month Google threatened to pull out of China, alleging the hacking of Google's email system by Chinese authorities. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed up by demanding net freedom. Now President Obama seems to have decided to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan.

Report: U.S. Close To Arms Sale To Taiwan (1/25/2010 AP, via NPR)

"The Obama administration has notified Congress that it has decided to sell weapons to Taiwan, senior congressional aides said Monday — a move expected to worsen already tense ties between China and the United States.

"China considers Taiwan a renegade province and will vehemently object to the arms package, which is likely to include UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles and material related to Taiwan's defense communications network.

"The aides said the administration has been consulting with Congress about Taiwan's defense needs ahead of a formal announcement of the sale. Meetings began last week and are continuing this week.

"The aides, who have direct knowledge of the meetings, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of arms sales to Taiwan and because the notification is not yet official.

"The package appears to dodge a thorny issue: The aides say the F-16 fighter jets that Taiwan covets are not likely to be included.

"The sale would satisfy parts of an $11 billion arms package originally pledged to the self-governing island by former President George W. Bush in 2001. That package has been provided in stages because of political and budgetary considerations in Taiwan and the United States. The aides say it is unclear when an official announcement will come but that it could be soon.

"The sale has been widely expected, and Beijing has already warned of a disruption in ties with Washington." [The article continues.]

Chinese are understandably indignant (declaring the so-called 'honeymoon' with Obama is now over), while Japanese are worried about increasing tension in the region.


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