US Ignores China’s Sanction over Arms Sale to Taiwan

October 30, 2020 Updated: October 30, 2020

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs threatened to sanction U.S. defense companies after the U.S. State Department approved three arms sales to Taiwan last week. However, the CCP’s intimidation served no use. A few hours later, the United States announced again that it would sell Harpoon missiles worth more than $2 billion to Taiwan.

The Pentagon made the announcement on Oct. 26, saying that the State Department had approved another sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon coastal defense systems to Taiwan, a deal that has a potential value of $2.37 billion. The proposed sale includes 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles, with a range of 67 nautical miles.

There are also drill-use missiles, 100 Harpoon launcher transporter units, 25 radar trucks, along with equipment, documents, technical support, and training.

The U.S. Department of Defense stated that notification has been sent to Congress regarding the approved arms sale, and it is expected to take effect in one month.

Taiwanese military analyst Cheng-hsiu Lee believes that the Harpoon system will enhance Taiwan’s combat power against the CCP. In particular, it will be a big help for Taiwan’s air and sea control.

Cheng-hsiu Lee (Military expert at the  Institute for National Policy Research, Taiwan):

“When we are capable of countering the attacks from China and making them pay a bigger price, they will naturally restrain from casually launching an attack on Taiwan. That’s why I think that the sale of the Harpoon missile can indeed make Taiwan more secure by enhancing our combat power, especially in terms of sea control. There are also radar trucks, which can detect the movements of the Communist army before they approach and provide more time for Taiwan’s defense to make deployment.”

This was the second round of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan in the past week, and the ninth arms sale to Taiwan since Trump took office.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed gratitude to the United States for fulfilling its “six guarantees” security commitments based on the “Taiwan Relations Act” and emphasized that in the face of the CCP’s military expansion and provocations, Taiwan will continue to strengthen its defense capabilities to maintain regional peace.

“It shows that Taiwan has increased arms purchases to protect itself. In fact, Taiwan’s fight against the CCP is to protect its democratic political system. The ruling and opposition parties have reached a high degree of agreement, something worthy of our attention. It embodies the consensus of Taiwan’s ruling and opposition parties on safeguarding Taiwan’s security. It is the recent changes in the entire political environment in Taiwan that has led to this result.”

In recent months, the CCP’s fighters and bombers have been invading Taiwan’s air defense zone more and more frequently, and CCP propaganda movies even showed simulated attacks on Taiwan.

The Chinese edition of The New York Times pointed out that previously, many Taiwanese chose to be neutral between China and the United States, but due to the recent political changes, many Taiwanese have realized that they can only side with the United States because they are facing a confrontation between democracy and totalitarianism.

Cheng-hsiu Lee (Military expert at the  Institute for National Policy Research, Taiwan):

“Since Xi Jinping came to power, many of his actions have indeed put more pressure on Taiwan, especially in international diplomacy and military preparations. But it is undeniable that the reaction force he brought is even stronger. Now the people of Taiwan detest the CCP’s united front even more, and it has also made Taiwan cooperate more closely with the United States.”

Just last week, the U.S. State Department approved a potential sale to Taiwan of $1.8 billion worth of High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) Extended-Range Guided MLRS rockets, and MS-110 reconnaissance pods for F-16s.

Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated at a press conference on Oct. 26, that China would impose sanctions on American companies that participated in the sale, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, and Raytheon.

His declaration of retaliation was soon followed by another round of arms sale to Taiwan.

Current affairs commentator Lan Shu believes that the CCP may have learned about the new round of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan from different channels and hoped to put pressure on the U.S. before the official announcement.

Lan Shu (U.S.-based Current Affairs Commentator):

“In Western countries, the entire policy formulation process is transparent, so once the policy is made, the authorities will not change it. The CCP likes to influence foreign policies by threats, intimidation, declarations, etc., but these things have no effect. The whole process is not like the CCP’s black box operations—when the CCP has developed something underhandedly, if the external situation has certain changes they will make some adjustments accordingly.”

According to an analysis from The Wall Street Journal, the CCP’s sanctions will hardly affect the U.S. defense companies involved. For example, Lockheed Martin has only sold civilian helicopters to Beijing. Although China is the main market for Boeing’s commercial aircraft, the sanctions only target the company’s defense division.