The US is reportedly planning to coproduce weapons with Taiwan island amid Western media hypes that claim China is looking to speed up its timeline for reunification, after a report of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was released on Sunday.
It also comes at a time when the US faces difficulties delivering finished products due to increased demand from Ukraine, and after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) demonstrated its capability to blockade the island of Taiwan in its large-scale exercises in August, analysts said.
The US government is considering a plan to jointly produce weapons with the island of Taiwan in an initiative intended to speed up arms transfers to bolster the island’s “deterrence” against the Chinese mainland, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, which counts numerous US defense contractors as members.
It was yet to be determined which weapons would be considered as part of the effort, though it would likely focus on providing Taiwan island with more munitions and long-established missile technology, Hammond-Chambers said.
Possibilities would include the US providing technology to produce weapons in Taiwan island, or producing the weapons in the US using parts from the island, Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported on Wednesday.
But Hammond-Chambers also said that any such move would require weapons makers to obtain co-production licenses from the US State and Defense departments, and there could be resistance within the US government to issuing co-production licenses due to uneasiness about approving critical technology for a foreign platform.
According to the Reuters report, the US has approved more than $20 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan since 2017, but deliveries of those weapons are facing delays because of supply chain difficulties and backlogs caused by increased demand for some systems due to the Ukraine crisis.
The Chinese mainland has demonstrated the capability to lock down and blockade the island following its large-scale military exercises surrounding the island in August, a Chinese mainland military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Thursday.
In this case, the US will not be able to deliver anything to the island like it has done with Ukraine, and that is likely why the US wants to let the island arm itself instead, the expert said.
The defense industry on the island of Taiwan has produced anti-ship missiles such as the Hsiung Feng III and air defense missiles like the Tien Kung.
If the US does allow licensed production of its weapons on Taiwan island by providing technologies and tools, the island will indeed attain a certain level of production capability, the expert said.
This ill-intended US move will be futile as those production plants will be priority targets of the PLA if a cross-Straits conflict breaks out, the expert said.
Learning from the Ukraine crisis, the US plans to produce weapons in the island of Taiwan to promote its capability in “producing blood” if the Chinese mainland uses non-peaceful means to take the island back. However, as the mainland has overwhelming military superiority over the island and the gap is increasing with time, the US’ plans to stock or produce more weapons in the island will have little effect except offering psychological comfort to the DPP separatists in the island. Such a new model of arms sale and promotion of military cooperation between the US and Taiwan authorities are dangerous and escalate the tension across the Straits, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times.
Moreover, the US will not allow any high-end weapon technologies to be brought to the island of Taiwan, which means it remains questionable as to how these plans can promote the military capability of the island, and they are still a way to bleed the island and feed the military enterprises in the US, analysts said.
In recent days, especially after the opening of the 20th CPC National Congress, the US and some Western media and think tanks have ramped up efforts in hyping the Taiwan question and claimed that China is looking to push forward its timeline for taking control of the island of Taiwan by 2027. Moreover, speaking at an event at Stanford University on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that China is pursuing unification with the island “on a much faster timeline” than previously expected.
The report of the 20th CPC National Congress stressed that resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese and a matter that must be resolved by the Chinese. It stressed that China continues to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort, but will never promise to renounce the use of force and reserves the option of taking all measures necessary.