Chinese Mission to the EU on Thursday expressed strong opposition to the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs’ (AFET) adoption of the EU-Taiwan Political Relations and Cooperation report, which called for elevating “political relations” with the island of Taiwan.
U.S. sailors perform maintenance on an MH-60R Seahawk aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower. (MCSN Orion Shotton/U.S. Navy) (U.S. Navy)
Taiwan’s government is seeking funding for a long-delayed plan to acquire shipboard anti-submarine helicopters from the United States, as it announces an increased defense budget for the forthcoming fiscal year.
Media outlets in Taiwan, including the Taipei Times, have reported that the Ministry of National Defense is aiming in the 11th hour to include funding to buy Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.
BY DINA SMELTZ AND CRAIG KAFURA
Tensions between Beijing and Taipei are running high. Chinese intimidation of Taiwan has increased since 2016, demonstrated by naval drills in the Taiwan Strait, incursions into Taiwanese airspace, and economic coercion targeted at Taiwanese industries. In turn, the United States has sold advanced weapons to Taiwan and normalized US warship transits nearby. While past administrations have not made formal commitments to defend Taiwan, the just-completed 2021 Chicago Council Survey finds that for the first time, a slim majority of Americans now favor sending US troops to defend Taiwan if China invades.
The ruling parties of Japan and the Taiwan region on Friday held their first-ever security talks, discussing the “challenge” from the Chinese mainland and possible exchanges. Although the one and a half hour virtual dialogue was viewed as warming ties between Japan and the island, mainland experts warned that such attempts of self-comfort and catering to the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy to contain the mainland may provoke a strong backlash from Beijing.
Taiwan and Japan’s ruling party will hold security talks for the first time later this week, a Taiwanese lawmaker said Wednesday, as the two neighbors fret about China’s increasingly bellicose military threats.
The announcement of the talks was condemned by Beijing, which claims self-ruled, democratic Taiwan and opposes countries having official contacts with Taipei.
Japanese leaders in 2021 have made an unusual series of high-profile statements and comments concerning Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait. These appeared to crescendo last month, when global headlines asserted that July 5 remarks by Japan’s deputy prime minister meant “Japan pledges to defend Taiwan if China attacks” or marked a fundamental change in Japanese policy.
The defense authority on the island of Taiwan is reportedly proposing a huge special budget for missile manufacturing capabilities with the aim of “coping with threats from the Chinese mainland” amid the fear that the US would give up the island as it did with Afghanistan.
A US Chinook helicopter flies over the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday. Helicopters are landing at the US embassy there as diplomatic vehicles leave the compound as the Taliban advance on the Afghan capital. Photo: VCG
As the world watches with concerns over what has unfolded in Afghanistan over the past few days. Many have criticized the US for the habit of abandoning its allies and partners in times of trouble. But the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority of Taiwan is downplaying the huge blow to US’ reputation as an ally and attacking those who are discussing whether Taiwan will be tomorrow’s Afghanistan being abandoned by the US.
Brian Davis, Michael A. Hunzeker
The Biden administration recently notified Congress of a proposal to sell Taiwan 40 Paladin self-propelled howitzers. As mundane as this announcement might seem, it should be of deep concern to anyone who cares about U.S.-Taiwan relations. Beijing is, after all, ratcheting up its aggression toward the island. A war over Taiwan’s status is a distinct possibility and would prove unimaginably catastrophic for Taiwan. Americans also have skin in the game, since Washington will face enormous pressure to intervene.