Taiwan Seeks Deeper Cooperation With America Amid US-China Tensions
© AP Photo / Chiang Ying-yingPilots stand in front of AH-64E Apache attack helicopter before the commissioning ceremony in Taoyuan city, northern Taiwan, Tuesday, July 17, 2018
© AP Photo / Chiang Ying-ying
US President Joe Biden seemingly broke with the decades-old paradigm of strategic ambiguity in regard to Taiwan, claiming during his recent visit to Japan that the US was ready to support the island militarily if China invades it. The White House stated later that POTUS meant supplies of weapons and military equipment.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen expressed hope during the visit of US Senator Tammy Duckworth that Taiwan and the US will deepen their cooperation in the sphere of security. The senator is one of the main backers of the Taiwan Partnership Act, which aims to deepen the ties between Washington and the island, which China considers a breakaway province.
"As a result [of the Taiwan Partnership Act], the US Department of Defence is now actively planning cooperation between the National Guard and Taiwan's defence forces," Tsai noted in her statement.
The act has yet to be passed by the US Congress; however, Senator Duckworth said that there was strong bipartisan support for it during her visit to Taiwan. The American lawmaker further stressed that the Partnership Act goes beyond just military cooperation, and also concerns economic ties with the island.
China, which believes that the island should eventually be politically reunited with the mainland, repeatedly criticised US ties with Taiwan, especially in the military field. Beijing namely condemned in the strongest terms the US-Taiwan $2 and $8 billion deals on the sale of weapons and military equipment to the island signed in 2019. While Washington has reportedly been lagging behind schedule in its deliveries, it still plans to ship over 100 tanks, radar arrays, ammunition, communication devices and some 66 F-16v multi-role fighter jets.
The latter are set to replace the ageing fleet of fighters that Taiwan has been actively scrambling each time a Chinese military aircraft enters the island's air defence identification zone (ADIZ). The latter spans well beyond Taiwan's airspace, which China did not violate. Most recently, Taipei scrambled its jets on the day of Duckworth's visit to monitor the brief entrance of 30 Chinese military aircraft into south-western part of Taiwan's ADIZ.
29 December 2021, 10:22 GMT
While the US has repeatedly ignored Beijing's protests over its dealings with Taiwan, it still holds an ambiguous posture towards the island's claims of sovereignty, mostly adhering to the so-called "one China principle". US President Joe Biden seemingly tried to steer away from it by suggesting that the US would help Taiwan militarily if China invades it. However, the White House later clarified that the president meant supplies of weapons and military equipment and not sending the American military to the island.
The latter, however, have been in its vicinity on a regular basis in recent years, under the pretext of carrying out freedom of navigation missions. US warships namely crossed the Taiwan Strait on numerous occasions despite China's strong protests and warnings that such acts might lead to incidents and even armed confrontations.