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Debate: US arms sales to Taiwan

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Should the US sell arms and war planes to Taiwan?

Background and context

The US has had a long-standing policy of selling arms to Taiwan. The Chinese government has fiercely opposed this policy, particularly because it goes against their One China policy, which aims to unify Taiwan with China. The Obama administration has said that it will continue the policy, news that has been mostly welcomed in Taiwan and denounced in China. Here is a 2009 article on the Obama administration's policies: Edward Wong. "Arms sales to Taiwan will proceed, US says." New York Times. December 15, 2009. The question remains: are such arms sales still justified?

Contents

Does Taiwanese possession of arms threaten China's "one China" policy?

Pro

  • General statements for US arms sales to Taiwan White House official Raymond Burghardt, chairman of the American Institute in Taipei, which is the de facto United States Embassy in Taiwan, said in December of 2009 that arms sales to Taiwan will continue under the Obama administration, and that, "No one should be surprised when we move forward with them."[1]


Con

  • Selling arms to Taiwan will encourage separatists there. Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxun urged the Bush administration to back off from selling arms to Taiwan. Tang said that selling weapons "would send a wrong signal to the Taiwanese authorities, and will encourage a very small number of people — the Taiwan independence elements — to continue to engage in separatist activities."[2]
  • General statements against US arms sales to Taiwan. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in December of 2009: "We are firmly opposed to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan."[3]

US Security: Are the arm sales in US interest?

Pro

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Con

  • Arms sales to Taiwan forces China to build up its defenses. Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen said in 2001: "To sell weapons to parts of the territory of another sovereign state, whether the weapons are defensive or offensive, won’t stand … The more weapons you sell, the more we will prepare ourselves in terms of our national defense. This is logical."[4]


Pro/con sources

Pro

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Con

See also

External links and resources

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