On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Washington plans to provide Taiwan with $500 million in military aid and alleged that hundreds of U.S. troops have been deployed to Taiwan. China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) responded to the reports by saying that it will "firmly crush attempts at external interference."
According to Taiwan's defense minister, Taipai and Washington have been in talks recently about the U.S. giving $500 million worth of "free" weapons to the island nation. The weapons would come from already existing U.S. stockpiles in the form of a Presidential Drawdown Authority, the same used for Ukrainian aid. The move was confirmed on Tuesday by Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin.
After Washington ended diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, the U.S. has sold weapons to Taipei but has never given them to the island for free. The Taiwanese media also recently reported that the largest U.S. military presence in decades is about to occur with some 200 U.S. troops having been deployed to assist with training.
Meanwhile, PLA spokesman Co. Tan Kefe said the efforts "of the U.S. side to turn back the wheel of history on the Taiwan question are absolutely intolerable."
Regarding the military aid and deployment of troops to the island, Tan said, "the U.S. has stepped up its military collusion with the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) authorities by strengthening military contacts and upgrading substantive relations between the two sides, which has shaken the foundation of the China-U.S. relations and undermined the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."
Tan referred to the Taiwan issue as the "first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations," a sentiment that Chinese leader Xi Jinping first told President Joe Biden last November when the two leaders met in Bali. Beijing has clearly viewed Washington's involvement with Taiwan as an attack on the U.S.'s one-China policy.
Tan went on to explain that Washington would need to end its Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan, sever diplomatic ties with Taipei, and withdraw its troops as "the preconditions for the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the U.S."
Meanwhile, officials in Washington have continued calls for the U.S. to arm Taiwan "to the teeth" to stave off a Chinese invasion of the island.
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