US and Taiwan

August 24, 2023 | 3:32pm
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US and Taiwan
August 24, 2023

The United States says it approved the sale to Taiwan of advanced sensor equipment for its fighter jets, the latest upgrade as fears rise over China's increasing assertiveness over its claim to the island. 

The State Department says it informed Congress of the $500 million sale of F-16 Infrared Search and Track systems and related equipment to help Taiwan "maintain a credible defensive capability."

The sale will help Taiwan "meet current and future threats by contributing to the recipient's abilities to defend its airspace, provide regional security and increase interoperability with the United States through its F-16 program." — AFP


June 30, 2023

The United States says it planned to sell $440 million in ammunition and parts to Taiwan, its latest effort to boost the self-ruling island's defense as tensions simmer with China.

The sale is comparatively small in scale and does not expand the range of US weaponry to Taiwan, but comes as the United States and China move delicately to stabilize their turbulent relationship.

In a notification to Congress, the State Department says it would sell $332.2 million in 30mm ammunition and related equipment to Taiwan and $108 million in spare and repair parts for wheeled vehicles and weapons.

The sales will help Taiwan "maintain a credible defensive capability" but "will not alter the basic military balance in the region," it says. — AFP

June 22, 2023

US lawmakers vote to greenlight an agreement aimed at deepening economic relations with Taiwan that has already provoked an irritated response from Beijing.

The US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade streamlines customs checks, looks to improve regulatory procedures and establishes anticorruption measures.

It now heads from the House of Representatives to the Senate, the upper chamber of the US Congress, where it is expected to be ratified.  — AFP

June 1, 2023

The United States and Taiwan will sign a trade deal on Thursday, Taipei said, in a move likely to stoke tensions between Beijing and Washington over the island.

The Office of Trade Negotiations in Taipei announced that the first batch of agreements under "The US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade" will be inked in Washington at 10 am local time (1400 GMT), without providing details.

Washington has remained a key ally and arms supplier to Taiwan despite switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. It is also the island's second-largest trade partner. 

But Beijing detests any hint of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and other governments as it considers the self-ruled island its own territory. — AFP

May 8, 2023

Taiwan is expecting a fast-tracked $500 million weapons package from Washington this year to make up for delays in arms procurements, the island's defence minister says.

The self-ruled, democratic island lives under constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory to be seized one day -- by force if necessary.

With Beijing increasing its sabre-rattling towards the island, Taiwan's key ally the United States in September approved the Taiwan Policy Act -- which would see new legislation provide billions in military aid to Taipei. — AFP

April 17, 2023

A US warship sailed through the waters separating Taiwan and mainland China, the US Navy said, days after Beijing staged war games around the self-ruled island.

Led by the United States, multiple Western navies regularly conduct "freedom of navigation operations" to assert the international status of regional waterways such as the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.

The USS Milius guided-missile destroyer "conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit April 16 (local time) through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law", the US Navy said in a statement.

"The ship transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State." — AFP

March 8, 2023

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he will meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in California, but did not rule out a possible visit to the self-governed island.

Tsai's government had provided McCarthy's staff with intelligence that a high-profile US visit could provoke a Chinese threat, the Financial Times reported earlier on Tuesday, citing an unidentified senior Taiwanese official.

The FT added that the speaker would scrap a potential trip to Taiwan, and the meeting would instead take place in California.

McCarthy confirmed plans to meet Tsai in the US, but told reporters in Washington the meeting does not preclude a trip to Taiwan. — AFP

March 2, 2023

The United States has approved the sale to Taiwan of $619 million in munitions for F-16 fighter jets, the Pentagon announced Wednesday, in a move China said "seriously damages" relations between Washington and Beijing.

The sale will boost Taiwan's "capability to provide for the defense of its airspace, regional security, and interoperability with the United States," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The package will include anti-radar missiles, advanced air-to-air missiles, launchers and dummy missiles to be used for training, it said.

The US and China have increasingly sparred over Taiwan since a high-level US visit to the self-ruled island — which China claims as its territory — last year.

Diplomatic tensions were further raised last month after the downing of a balloon over US airspace that Washington said was a Chinese surveillance craft.

The US State Department said separately that Wednesday's sale was consistent with Washington's One China Policy, in which the US recognises Beijing, and acknowledges the Chinese position that Taiwan is part of China. 

The Pentagon said the deal would "not alter the basic military balance in the region." — AFP

March 2, 2023

The US has approved the sale to Taiwan of $619 million in munitions for F-16 fighter jets, the Pentagon announces, in a move likely to anger Beijing.

The package includes 100 AGM-88B High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM), 200 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles(AMRAAM), and launchers and dummy missiles for training, the Pentagon says in a statement.

The sale will boost Taiwan's "capability to provide for the defense of its airspace, regional security, and interoperability with the United States," it adds. — AFP

February 21, 2023

Taiwan will boost military exchanges with the United States to curb "authoritarian expansionism", President Tsai Ing-wen says Tuesday after meeting with visiting US lawmakers. 

The five-day US Congressional visit comes after a top US defense official reportedly made a rare and highly secretive stopover to the self-ruled island as Washington-Beijing tensions flared over alleged Chinese spy balloons. 

"Taiwan and the United States continue to bolster military exchanges," Tsai says after convening with the US delegation at her office in Taipei. —  AFP 

December 9, 2022

The US House of Representatives passes a defense spending bill that includes up to $10 billion in military grant assistance for Taiwan and seeks to expedite arms sales to the island, drawing a rebuke from Beijing.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2023 -- which still requires Senate passage and the signature of President Joe Biden to become law -- would authorize grant assistance for Taiwan of up to $2 billion per year from 2023 through 2027.

The act also authorizes Biden to provide Taiwan with up to $1 billion per year in defense items from US stockpiles, or other services such as military training. — AFP

October 18, 2022

Beijing wants to seize Taiwan "on a much faster timeline" than previously considered, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday, warning that President Xi Jinping was leading China in a more aggressive direction.

Xi is on the cusp of securing a third five-year term at the helm of the world's most populous nation, delivering a landmark Communist Party Congress speech on Sunday that hailed his decade in power and restated his vow to one day "reunify", or forcefully take, Taiwan.

"We've seen a very different China emerge in recent years under Xi Jinping's leadership," Blinken told a forum at Stanford University with former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

"It is more repressive at home; it's more aggressive abroad. And in many instances that poses a challenge to our own interests as well as to our own values," he added. -- AFP

October 3, 2022

The United States will help Taiwan "develop the capability to defend itself" from a Chinese invasion, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says, stopping short of President Joe Biden's vow to send troops to the island.

"We're committed to helping Taiwan develop the capability to defend itself," Austin says in an interview with CNN.

Washington has historically maintained a policy of "strategic ambiguity" on whether it would intervene militarily if Taiwan were attacked by China. 

Asked in an interview with CBS last month whether US troops would defend Taiwan, Biden said "yes," if it were "an unprecedented attack." — AFP

September 28, 2022

Washington will operate "undaunted and unafraid" throughout Asia, including the Taiwan Strait, US Vice President Kamala Harris says as she addressed American troops in Japan.

Speaking after attending Tuesday's funeral for assassinated former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe, Harris accused China of "disturbing behaviour" in the East China Sea and South China Sea and "provocations across the Taiwan Strait".

"The United States believes that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is an essential feature of a free and open Indo-Pacific," she says, using Washington's term for the Asia-Pacific region. — AFP

September 21, 2022

A US destroyer and a Canadian frigate sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday in the latest joint operation aimed at reinforcing the route's status as an international waterway.

Beijing views as its own both democratic Taiwan and the narrow body of water separating the island from mainland China -- one of the world's busiest shipping channels.

The United States has long used "freedom of navigation" passages through the Taiwan Strait to push back against Chinese claims and Western allies have increasingly joined these operations. -- AFP

September 19, 2022

President Joe Biden says that US forces would defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion, while the White House said Washington's policy was unchanged.

Asked by the CBS "60 Minutes" program whether US troops would defend Taiwan, Biden said "yes," if it were "an unprecedented attack."

This was not the first time that Biden has declared US forces would take part in a war between China and Taiwan, with the White House appearing to walk back his comments afterward. The previous time was in May during a visit to Japan.

That time, Biden was also asked whether he'd commit US troops to such a situation and again he said "yes."

"That's the commitment we made," he says. — AFP

September 8, 2022

Taiwan is confident it can sign a trade deal with Washington, its leader told visiting US lawmakers Thursday, adding that the island "will not back down" against Chinese threats.

Washington unveiled plans for formal trade talks with Taiwan in a show of support as China was staging huge military drills last month.

Taiwan lives under constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims the democratically ruled island as part of its territory to be seized one day -- by force if necessary.

Beijing lashes out at any diplomatic action that seems to treat Taiwan as a sovereign nation, and has reacted with growing anger to visits by Western politicians.

Last month's drills were in protest at US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

While meeting the bipartisan US delegation, Tsai pledged to work with Washington to promote closer trade ties.

"We are confident that through this initiative, we can sign a high-standard trade agreement and advance bilateral trade development," she said. — AFP

September 3, 2022

The United States announces a new $1.1 billion package of arms to Taiwan, vowing to keep boosting the island's defenses as tensions soar with Beijing.

The sale comes a month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defiantly visited the self-governing democracy, prompting mainland China to launch a show of force that could be a trial run for a future invasion.

The package -- the largest for Taiwan approved under President Joe Biden's administration -- includes $665 million for contractor support to maintain and upgrade a Raytheon early radar warning system in operation since 2013 that would warn Taiwan about an incoming attack — AFP .

August 30, 2022

Taipei and Beijing trade barbs over a recent string of drone sorties from the Chinese mainland to an outlying Taiwanese island, as Taiwan's president Tuesday vowed "strong countermeasures" against such incursions.

Photos and video taken by Chinese drones of the Kinmen islands have been circulating on both Taiwanese and Chinese social media, with one video showing Taiwanese soldiers hurling rocks at one to drive it off.

While visiting air force facilities in offshore Penghu islands, President Tsai Ing-wen says China had used "greyzone" tactics such as drone intrusion to continue its "military intimidation" against Taiwan. — AFP

August 28, 2022

Two US warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, the American navy said, the first such transit since China staged unprecedented military drills around the island.

In a statement, the US Navy said the transit "demonstrates the United States' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."

Tensions in the Taiwan Strait soared to their highest level in years this month after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei. 

Beijing reacted furiously, staging days of air and sea exercises around the self-ruled island.

Taiwan lives under constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims the democracy as part of its territory to be seized one day -- by force if necessary.

Washington diplomatically recognizes Beijing over Taipei, but maintains de facto relations with Taiwan and supports the island's right to decide its future. -- AFP

August 22, 2022

A United States governor met Taiwan's president Monday, days after Washington announced trade talks with Taipei in a show of support following China's military threats toward the self-ruled island. 

Eric Holcomb, the Republican governor of the US state of Indiana, landed in Taiwan on Sunday for an "economic development trip".

US-China tensions have risen since Beijing staged huge military drills in retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan earlier this month. 

Taiwan lives under constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims the democratic island as part of its territory to be seized one day -- by force if necessary.

Beijing lashes out at any diplomatic action that might lend Taiwan legitimacy and has responded with growing fury to visits by western officials and politicians. -- AFP

August 18, 2022

Taiwan and the United States announced plans on Thursday for trade talks in the early autumn as a senior US diplomat warned Beijing will continue to squeeze the self-ruled democracy it claims as its own.

Tensions in the Taiwan Strait have soared to their highest in years after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, sparking a furious response from Beijing which launched its largest military drills around the island.

The negotiations would cover a variety of areas, including agriculture, digital trade, regulatory practices and removing trade barriers, the Office of the US Trade Representative said in a statement. -- AFP

August 16, 2022

China's recent decision to fire missiles over Taiwan is a "gorilla in the room" that has to be contested, a top US military commander said Tuesday.

Beijing has carried out huge air and sea drills this month around Taiwan in a furious reaction to visits by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation.

Those exercises included firing multiple ballistic missiles into waters off Taiwan -- some of the world's busiest shipping routes -- and it was the first time China has taken such a step since the mid-1990s.

"It's very important that we contest this type of thing. I know that the gorilla in the room is launching missiles over Taiwan," Seventh Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Karl Thomas told reporters in Singapore.

"If we just allow that to happen, and we don't contest that, that'll be the next norm," he added.

"It's irresponsible to launch missiles over Taiwan into international waters, where the shipping lanes, where free shipping operates."

The Seventh Fleet is based in Japan and is a core part of Washington's navy presence in the Pacific. -- AFP

August 16, 2022

A Chinese research vessel has entered Sri Lanka's Chinese-run southern port of Hambantota despite concerns from India and the United States about its activities.

The Yuan Wang 5 entered the Hambantota deep sea port after securing permission to enter Sri Lankan waters on the condition it will not engage in any research, port officials says.

The vessel was originally due to arrive last week, but Colombo asked Beijing to defer the visit following objections by India, which shares Western concerns about Chinese activities in the region.

But on Saturday, after intense negotiations, Colombo announced a U-turn, saying permission had been granted for the ship to dock at Hambantota and remain for six days. — AFP

August 15, 2022

United States lawmakers are set to meet Taiwan's president on Monday days after China reacted to a similar visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with huge military drills that raised fears of conflict. 

The unannounced two-day trip came after Beijing sent warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies around Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy that China's leaders claim and have vowed to one day seize. 

The five-member congressional delegation -- led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts -- was due to hold a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday morning followed by a banquet at the foreign ministry.

Their visit will focus on trade, regional security and climate change, Washington's de facto embassy in Taipei says. — AFP

August 13, 2022

The United States will boost trade with Taiwan in response to China's "provocative" behavior, the White House says, as it insists on the right of air and sea passage through the tense strait.

A new trade plan will be unveiled within days, while US forces will transit the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks, says Kurt Campbell, White House coordinator for Asia-Pacific issues and an adviser to President Joe Biden.

The statement came after Beijing raged at last week's trip by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, launching its largest-ever military drills around the self-ruled island. — AFP

August 6, 2022

Chinese missiles flew over Taiwan during Beijing's latest military drills, state media reports, as the country pressed ahead with exercises encircling the island following a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi was the highest-profile US official to head to Taiwan in years, defying stark threats from Beijing, which views the self-ruled island as its territory.

China launched a series of exercises in multiple zones around Taiwan in response, straddling some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. 

Beijing is yet to formally confirm whether missiles overflew the islands during the drills, while Taipei has refused to confirm or deny the flight paths, citing intelligence concerns.

But Japan's defence ministry says of the nine missiles it had detected, four were "believed to have flown over Taiwan's main island". — AFP

August 4, 2022

Southeast Asian foreign ministers urge restraint as China readied massive military drills off Taiwan, warning the situation risked spiralling into "open conflicts".

A furious Beijing is planning its biggest-ever exercises around Taiwan in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled island.

Ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Phnom Penh warn against "provocative action".

The situation "could lead to miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among major powers," the ministers say in a joint statement. — AFP

August 4, 2022

China is due on Thursday to kick off its largest-ever military exercises encircling Taiwan, in a show of force straddling vital international shipping lanes following a visit to the self-ruled island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi left Taiwan Wednesday after a less than 24-hour visit that defied a series of increasingly stark threats from Beijing, which views the island as its territory.

The House speaker, second in line to the presidency, was the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. — AFP

August 3, 2022

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi vows Wednesday to punish those who offend Beijing, state media reported, as the country seethes over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

"This is a complete farce. The United States is violating China's sovereignty under the guise of so-called 'democracy'... those who offend China will be punished," Wang says on the sidelines of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh. — AFP

August 3, 2022

Southeast Asian foreign ministers will seek ways to help quell the diplomatic storm over Taiwan at regional talks Wednesday, after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived on the island, enraging Beijing.

Pelosi's dramatic late-night flight to Taipei, defying threats of reprisals by China, looks set to dominate the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh, which had been expected to tackle the bloody crisis in Myanmar.

Attention will focus instead on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his American counterpart Antony Blinken -- both flying into the Cambodian capital for regional security talks with ASEAN on Thursday and Friday.

ASEAN spokesman Kung Phoak, Cambodia's deputy foreign minister, says the meeting would seek to calm the waters. — AFP

August 2, 2022

China warns  that the United States will "pay the price" if US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan, as tensions between Beijing and Washington soar.

"The US side will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermining China's sovereign security interests," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying says at a regular press briefing. — AFP

July 31, 2022

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead a congressional delegation to the Asia-Pacific region, her office confirmed on Sunday, with stops in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

The statement made no mention of whether the six-member delegation would visit Taiwan, a flashpoint in conversations between China and the United States in the run-up to the trip.

"The trip will focus on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region," Pelosi's office said in a statement.  -- AFP

June 17, 2022

China launches its third aircraft carrier, the first designed and built entirely in the country, marking a major military advance for the Asian superpower.

The announcement comes as tensions between China and the United States have ramped up significantly in recent weeks over Beijing's sabre-rattling towards self-ruled Taiwan, which it views as a breakaway province to be seized by force if necessary. 

Launched in a Shanghai shipyard to great fanfare, the Fujian is more technically advanced than the other Chinese carriers. — AFP

June 9, 2022

Taiwan welcomes US approval of a $120 million sale of naval equipment that the two allies said would bolster the island's "combat readiness" and ability to work with American forces.

Self-ruled, democratic Taiwan lives under constant threat of invasion by authoritarian China, which views the island as part of its territory to be retaken one day -- by force if necessary. 

Under a law passed by Congress, the United States is required to sell Taiwan military supplies to ensure its self-defense against Beijing's vastly larger armed forces. — AFP

Follow this page for updates on the diplomatic relation between the US and Taiwan. (Photo courtesy of AFP/Sam Yeh)

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