On February 4, Manfred P. T. Peng, the director of the Press Division of TECO-SF, wrote this letter in response to George Koo's article "Arms Sales Adds Complexity to US-China-Taiwan Triangle."
In response to George Koo’s article, I would like to point out:
1) In the last 30 years, successive US administrations have sold arms to Taiwan and this current package was proposed under GW Bush’s administration, not the Obama administration. As such, Beijing has no reason to be “caught by surprise.”
The proposed arms package is in keeping with the Taiwan Relations Act, passed by US Congress (1979) when Washington broke ties with Taiwan in favor of the People’s Republic of China. The act stipulates US’s non-official relations with Taiwan and requires the US government to provide Taiwan with sufficient arms of a defensive character to maintain the island’s security.
2) There have been big improvements in cross-strait relations since Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou took office in May 2008. However, Beijing has continued to increase their military spending without renouncing the use of force against Taiwan. Currently, China has over a thousand missiles targeting Taiwan.
The purchase of American arms will enhance the sense of Taiwan’s security and confidence, allowing the Ma administration to continue a political dialogue with China from a position of strength. Koo’s implication that President Ma is pandering to the approving rating with this arms sale does not make sense, since it is wholeheartedly supported by both the opposition and ruling parties.
3) Washington’s arms sales is not intended to rapidly reverse the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait, but a demonstration of political commitment by the US to Taiwan’s security and regional peace. With advanced weapons, Taiwan could increase the difficulty of a Chinese invasion and deter China from doing so. Taiwan has no intention of getting into an arms race with China. Any military actions across the straits would bring uncontrollable consequences to China as well.
Instead of adding complexity to the situation, the arms sale merely reflects the US-China-Taiwan triangular relations long established by the Taiwan Relations Act.
To link to George Koo’s article in New America Media, please click below:
- The Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco represents the Government Information Office (GIO), Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan). GIO maintains nine Press Divisions in the United States, including the San Francisco office. The Press Divisions are in charge of promoting Taiwan's public relations and cultural exchanges. This blog is updated by the Press Division, TECO in San Francisco.
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