Trump Doubles Down Against Chinese Aggression, Moves To Send Tanks 100 Miles from Communist Shores


So, as you probably know, President Trump is on the precipice of a trade war with China — if he’s not there already.

However, there’s also another less-metaphorical way he’s doubling down against Chinese aggression: By selling weapons to an island nation that Beijing believes to be part of their territory.

According to Reuters, America “is pursuing the sale of more than $2 billion worth of tanks and weapons to Taiwan, four people familiar with the negotiations said, sparking anger from Beijing which is already involved in an escalating trade war with Washington.

“An informal notification of the proposed sale has been sent to the U.S. Congress, the four sources said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the possible deal.

“The potential sale included 108 General Dynamics Corp M1A2 Abrams tanks worth around $2 billion as well as anti-tank and anti-aircraft munitions, three of the sources said. Taiwan has been interested in refreshing its existing U.S.-made battle tank inventory, which includes M60 Patton tanks.”

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Taiwan (or the Republic of China) is and has been considered a possession of the Chinese communist mainland (or People’s Republic of China) ever since the nominal end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, when forces allied to nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek fled there. It has also long been a point of contention in East Asia, given the fact that most states (including the United States) recognize the communist People’s Republic of China as the official government of China.

Yet, while that decision be a relic of Nixon-era statecraft (that probably would have happened anyway), the U.S. has long supported Taiwan as an independent state through diplomatic as well as military measures.

And among those military measures? Selling a whole lot of tanks to an independent island 100 miles east of the southeastern Chinese mainland.

“Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in March Washington was responding positively to Taipei’s requests for new arms sales to bolster its defenses in the face of pressure from China. The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide it with the means to defend itself,” Reuters reported.

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“The congressional notifications included a variety of anti-tank munitions, including 409 Raytheon Co and Lockheed Martin Corp-made Javelin missiles worth as much as $129 million, two of the sources said.

“The notifications also included 1,240 TOW anti-tank missiles worth as much as $299 million, one of the sources said. There were also 250 stinger missiles worth as much as $223 million in the notification, the source said.”

In other words, if Beijing wants to enforce the “One China policy” — its longstanding diplomatic assertion that Taiwan is an inseparable part of the communist mainland — there’s going to be a lot more bang-bang involved in making that happen without diplomatic channels.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Beijing is nonplussed at the Trump administration’s move.

“We are severely concerned about the U.S. move and are firmly against U.S. arms sales to Taiwan,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a daily news briefing. Reuters said Beijing “urges the United States to stop arms sales to Taiwan and prudently deal with issues relating to Taiwan to prevent harm to bilateral relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

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Because I’m sure they have nothing but our best interests in mind.

This comes, by the way, as Xi government is currently “thinking past” the present “pro-independence government” of Tsai Ing-wen, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post.

As part of this thinking past-ness, Beijing recently introduced a series of economic inducements to try to get the Taiwanese to, well, think past that whole independent state thing.

“First and foremost, President Xi Jinping, who honed his political skills from 1985 to 2002 in Fujian province — which faces Taiwan — is keen to deal with the Taiwan question in the coming years, especially as the constitutional revision to presidential term limits gives him more time to tackle this issue,” the Morning Post reported in March.

“Second, the new policy package focuses on economic, cultural and educational realms, laying the foundations for dialogue between Beijing and Taipei on a new economic and cultural union in southern China. Given the mainland’s ongoing plans for the Greater Bay Area, Taiwan will be wooed to join this expanded initiative when the time is ripe.”

Yeah, well. Uh, good luck with that one, fellas.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture