China says ready to ‘smash’ Taiwan self-rule as US prepares major arms package, sends advisers

May 16, 2023, 6:13 AM

BEIJING (AP) — China’ is prepared to “resolutely smash any form of Taiwan independence,” its military said Tuesday, as the U.S. reportedly prepares to accelerate the sale of defensive weapons and other military assistance to the self-governing island democracy.

A recent increase in exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries is an “extremely wrong and dangerous move,” Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Tan Kefei said in a statement and video posted online.

China’s People’s Liberation Army “continues to strengthen military training and preparations and will resolutely smash any form of Taiwanese independence secession along with attempts at outside interference, and will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Tan said, in a reference to Taiwan’s closest ally, the United States.

China claims the island of 23 million people as its own territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.

With the world’s largest navy, latest-generation fighter jets and a huge arsenal of ballistic missiles, China has been upping its threats by sending planes and warships into waters and airspace around Taiwan. With more than 2 million members, the PLA also ranks as the world’s largest standing military, although transporting even a portion of the force in the event of an invasion is considered a huge logistical challenge.

Along with daily air and sea incursions around Taiwan, Beijing has held military exercises in and around the Taiwan Strait dividing the sides, seen in part as a rehearsal for a blockade or invasion that would have massive consequences for security and economies worldwide.

Such actions seek to harass Taiwan’s military and intimidate politicians and voters who will choose a new president and legislature next year.

The moves appear to have had limited effect, with most Taiwanese firmly in favor of maintaining their de facto independent status. Politicians and other public figures from Europe and the U.S. have also been making frequent trips to Taipei to show their support, despite their countries’ lack of formal diplomatic ties in deference to Beijing.

Tan’s comments were prompted by a question from an unidentified reporter about reports that U.S. President Joe Biden is preparing to approve the sale of $500 million in arms to Taiwan, as well as sending more than 100 military personnel to evaluate training methods and offer suggestions for improving the island’s defenses.

Taiwan enjoys strong support from both the U.S. Democratic and Republican parties, which have called on the Biden administration to follow through on nearly $19 billion in military items approved for sale but not yet delivered to Taiwan.

Administration officials have blamed the delayed deliveries on bottlenecks in production related to issues from the COVID-19 pandemic to limited capacity and increased demand for arms to assist Ukraine. Biden’s move would allow the export of items from existing U.S. military stockpiles, speeding up the delivery of at least some of the hardware Taiwan needs to deter or repel any Chinese attack.

Among the items on backorder are Harpoon anti-ship missiles, F-16 fighter jets, shoulder-fired Javelin and Stinger missiles and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, a multiple rocket and missile launcher mounted on a truck that has become a crucial weapon for Ukrainian troops battling Russian invasion forces.

Tan’s comments were in line with Beijing’s standard tone on what it calls the “core of China’s core interests.” The two sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949 and Beijing considers bringing Taiwan under its control as key to asserting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Attempts to “seek independence by relying on the United States” and “seek independence by military might” are a “dead end,” Tan said.

With China-U.S. relations at a historic low and Taiwanese unreceptive to Beijing’s demands for political concessions on unification, concerns are rising about the likelihood of an open conflict involving all three sides and possibly U.S. treaty allies such as Japan.

China’s diplomatic and economic support for Russia following its invasion of Ukraine has also increased tensions with Washington. Beijing is believed to be closely studying Moscow’s military failures in the conflict, while the Western will to back Kyiv is seen by some as a test of its determination to side with Taiwan in the event of a conflict with China.


Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, top left, bows for prayer in the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol in...

Associated Press

Impeachment trial of Texas’ Ken Paxton to begin no later than August 28

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A historic impeachment trial in Texas to determine whether Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton should be permanently removed from office will begin no later than August in the state Senate, where the jury that would determine his future could include his wife, Sen. Angela Paxton. Ken Paxton was immediately suspended from […]

18 hours ago

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a Senate Appropriations hearing on the President's propo...

Associated Press

Russia issues arrest warrant for Lindsey Graham over Ukraine comments

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Interior Ministry on Monday issued an arrest warrant for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham following his comments related to the fighting in Ukraine. In an edited video of his meeting on Friday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that was released by Zelenskyy’s office, Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, noted that “the […]

18 hours ago

A man sells bananas at a market during a cease-fire in Khartoum, Sudan, Saturday, May 27, 2023. Sau...

Associated Press

UN agencies warn of starvation risk in Sudan, Haiti, Burkina Faso and Mali, call for urgent aid

ROME (AP) — Two U.N. agencies warned Monday of rising food emergencies including starvation in Burkina Faso and Mali due to restricted movements of people and goods. The four countries join Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen at the highest alert levels, with communities that are already facing or projected to face starvation or […]

18 hours ago

FILE - Attorneys and criminal justice advocates stand outside Louisiana's Supreme Court on May 10, ...

Associated Press

Historic acquittal in Louisiana fuels fight to review ‘Jim Crow’ verdicts

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Evangelisto Ramos walked out of a New Orleans courthouse and away from a life sentence accompanying a 10-2 jury conviction, thanks in large part to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision bearing his name. Ramos v. Louisiana outlawed nonunanimous jury convictions as unconstitutional, with justices on the 6-3 majority acknowledging the […]

2 days ago

This undated photo shows the late Army Cpl. Luther H. Story. The Army said Friday, May 19, 2023, th...

Associated Press

‘He’s home’: Missing 73 years, Medal of Honor recipient’s remains return to Georgia

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Soldiers of the 9th Infantry Regiment made a desperate retreat as North Korean troops closed in around them. A wounded, 18-year-old Army Pfc. Luther Herschel Story feared his injuries would slow down his company, so he stayed behind to cover their withdrawal. Story’s actions in the Korean War on Sept. 1, […]

2 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Sunday, May 28, 2023, in Washi...

Associated Press

Takeaways on debt ceiling: McCarthy’s balancing act, Biden’s choice and the challenges ahead

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s a deal no one in Washington claims to really like. But after weeks of negotiations, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have struck an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and avert a potentially devastating government default. The stakes are high for both men — and now each will […]

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

China says ready to ‘smash’ Taiwan self-rule as US prepares major arms package, sends advisers