Rumors of a war with China have been brewing for the past few months, but recently with the new Taiwan arms sales, the rumors are starting to feel more and more true. The U.S. approved a $425 million arms sale to Taiwan. What does this arms sale mean for Taiwan, the U.S., and China? Keep reading to find out.
Behind the $425 Million Taiwan Arms Sales Deal
So, what weapons did the U.S. sell to Taiwan? “Weapons” consisted mostly of replacement parts, but the sale also included sending several aircraft to Taiwan – jets such as the F-16 and the C-130.
The F-16s are fighter jets known for their ability to maneuver well in air-to-air combat as well as air-to-surface combat. The C-130 Hercules is also an aircraft, but it has different functions from the F-16. The C-130 is the number one aircraft in airdropping troops and equipment in hostile areas.
These aircraft took up most of the money from the Taiwan weapons deal, but there was still more involved with the deal. The Taiwan arms sales included $330 million in replacement parts and $98 million in non-standard equipment.
The Tensions Between Taiwan and China
Tensions between Taiwan and China have always been high. This is due to the complicated history between the two nations. It was like a really messy breakup but with guns and war and all that good stuff.
The History Between Taiwan and China
The tensions between Taiwan and China actually begin with Japan. From 1895-1945, Taiwan was under Japanese rule. During this time, the Japanese Empire was preparing for war, making Taiwan their naval and air force base. After Japan surrendered during WWII, 300,000 Japanese residents were kicked out of Taiwan and sent back to Japan.
Meanwhile, in mainland China, the Republic of China (ROC) began in 1912 (note: the Republic of China is not the same as the People’s Republic of China). After Japan left Taiwan, forces from the Republic of China, assisted by some American forces, were brought to Taiwan to take over the administration of the country. Despite the new rulers, many Taiwanese citizens were still disappointed and frustrated by the discrimination of the native peoples of Taiwan that had begun during Japanese rule.
After WWII, the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) became China’s ruling party as of October 1949. This caused the capital of the Republic of China, as well as thousands of ROC supporters, to move to Taiwan. With this move, mainland China lost many national treasures, tons of gold, and several foreign currency reserves.
With Taiwan under the control of the Republic of China, martial law began in 1949. The ROC was also shamed by many Western critics because of their martial law. The ROC began changing their ways in the 1980s and eventually became a democracy in 1988.
Is Taiwan Free From Chinese Control?
With the democratization of Taiwan in 1988, there has been a push from many Taiwanese citizens and leaders to officially declare independence from mainland China, while simultaneously, many are arguing to reunify with mainland China. This has caused tensions within Taiwan as well as tensions between Taiwan and China.
Essentially, the tensions between Taiwan and China boil down to this: China wants Taiwan under their control, but Taiwan wants independence from China. Many Taiwanese citizens believe that China already has too much economic control over Taiwan, but others see that control as a pin in China’s threats for military action.
But Why Does Taiwan Need Weapons?
The U.S. has a “strategic ambiguity” policy. Basically, if China does decide to invade Taiwan, the U.S. military will intervene. The U.S. also agrees with the “One-China” policy, meaning that they see mainland China as China, and Taiwan as Taiwan. But China sees Taiwan as part of the “One-China.” China has repeatedly threatened to take over Taiwan with military force if Taiwan does not come voluntarily. The recent Taiwan arms sales are obviously meant to help Taiwan prepare themselves for a potential attack from China.
The recent Taiwan arms sales have sparked even more rumors about Taiwan and China. With the $425 million deal, it’s obvious that Taiwan is preparing themselves for an attack from China. So, what does this mean for the future of America, China, and Taiwan? Let’s hope we never find out!