A new 100-page report on China’s reaction to US arms sales to Taiwan concludes that Beijing is “unlikely to challenge any fundamental US interests” in response to significant future sales.
“The [US President] Barack Obama administration has demonstrated unnecessary restraint in its Taiwan arms sales decisions — despite having ample justification for positive considerations,” the report said.
A joint project of the US-Taiwan Business Council and the Project 2049 Institute, the report analyzes Chinese reactions to arms sales over the past 33 years and finds they have not been much to worry about.
Even so, Randall Schriver, president of the Project 2049 Institute, told a meeting held in a US Congressional briefing room on Tuesday, the US government now appears to give more consideration to potential fallout from China than it does to the Taiwan Relations Act.
Schriver added that having done extensive research, “we can clearly say that if you are concerned about the effect of US arms sales on the cross-strait relationship — don’t be.”
He said there was “absolutely no history of fallout” and that an argument could be made that there was a correlation between US arms sales to Taiwan and breakthroughs in the cross-strait relationship.
Threats of impact on US business, he said, have turned out in the past to be no more than that — “just threats that have not come to fruition.”
US arms sales to Taiwan, he said, work the way that they are supposed to work.
Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, said that he was convinced that arms sales to Taiwan were “intertwined” with breakthroughs in cross-strait ties.
He said: “The evidence is there. It supports the notion that when the US is unabashedly supportive of Taiwan’s legitimate defense needs it provides Taiwan with the confidence it requires to engage China from a position of strength.
“When we don’t do it, what we have found is that it is inherently destabilizing and it creates the dynamic in the Strait that the Chinese might potentially feel is an opening for non-peaceful ways to resolve their issues with Taiwan,” he said.
The report stresses that while Beijing’s responses should be considered and appropriate contingency plans developed, the US should not be deterred by China’s reactions even though “limited and largely symbolic retaliations” cannot be ruled out.
It said: “US policymakers express their grave concerns about potential Chinese responses prior to any sale, but those concerns are generally not consistent with the actions carried out by China in the aftermath of the sale.”
The report added: “As expectations for an arms package grow, China increases the pressure on Washington to do nothing, or to do less, looking to incrementally reduce the US commitment to Taiwan.”
“This pressure takes a toll on the inter-agency review process. While administration officials may not directly engage with China on the issue, Chinese considerations are indirectly factoring into the deliberations,” it said.
If Taiwan is to continue with at least some self-determination, the report said, it is “imperative” that the US remains prepared to sell Taiwan all the systems it requires, “not just upgrades and second-hand equipment.”
The report argues that China has a well-established track record of responding “negatively and stridently” to public announcements of US arms sales to Taiwan.
However, a close examination of actions taken as a result, show them to have very limited sting — leaving the US with “considerable freedom of action.”
The report also said that barring a substantive reduction in the Chinese missile force aimed at Taiwan, the US will continue arms sales for the foreseeable future.
It added: “Excessive caution on new arms sales to Taiwan risks legitimizing PRC [People’s Republic of China] use of military coercion.”
The US’ failure to sell F-16C/D jets and assist Taipei in acquiring diesel-electric submarines appears to stem from fear of Beijing’s “anticipated response rather than from Taiwan’s needs.”
If the US went ahead with the F-16 and submarine programs, the report says that the strongest possible political protest would be the withdrawal of Beijing’s ambassador to Washington.
Beijing could also suspend military-to-military relations and adopt less restraint in its licensing of sensitive and militarily relevant technologies to Iran and North Korea, or it could seek to punish US economic interests in China.
However, this last economic option would be limited because of the potential negative effects on broader Chinese interests and because economic and trade-based retaliation could result in the US bringing a case before the WTO.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since