Taiwan’s military is preparing for a possible military escalation with China
16:12 | 31 August 2022
Updated: 16:33 | 31 August 2022
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Taiwan is stockpiling US-made weapons that Ukraine has used to stop the advancing Russian army. This is a signal that Taipei is taking lessons from the conflict in Eastern Europe to thwart China’s intentions to follow through on its threats to take the island by force if necessary, Bloomberg writes.
Taiwan’s order for Javelin anti-tank missiles has entered the production and delivery phase, Chief of the Taiwan Army General Staff Chan Yuan-shiung said at a briefing. “The program is going according to plan,” he adds.
According to Chan, there is a “combined management and planning effort by Taiwan and the US to ensure that the system is delivered on time,” without specifying a date.
Taiwan’s military, whose official name is the Republic of China, also plans to increase its order for HIMARS long-range artillery weapons to 29 from 11 previously. This order, which also includes about 860 precision-guided missiles for HIMARS, is scheduled for delivery in 2027.
U.S. and NATO officials believe the Javelin and other missile defense systems were key to preventing a rapid Russian advance in the early days of the war. Ukrainian forces have used HIMARS artillery to strike Russian supply lines and ammunition depots behind the front with increasing effectiveness.
Taiwan already has Javelin systems, but not HIMARS. Still, the move worried China, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijien telling a news conference in Beijing that any attempt by representatives of President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party “to ask for US support for independence is doomed to failure.”
On Tuesday, Beijing called on the US to halt arms sales and military contacts with the island after reports that US President Joe Biden’s administration was preparing to provide $1.1 billion in various types of missiles and radar equipment.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan and met with Tsai earlier this month. China responded by conducting unprecedented military exercises around the island and firing missiles over it. China’s military has scaled back its activities and threats since the drills, but the danger remains, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry spokesman Sun Li-fan said at the briefing with Chan. The actions of the People’s Liberation Army of China are harming the relationship between people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, he added.