Date: 9 APRIL 2018
By: Neil Connor, beijing, Nicola Smith, taipei
Photo credit: CREDIT: AFP
Aconflict between China and Taiwan is becoming “more probable” after Donald Trump agreed to help Taipei build its own submarines, Chinese media said.
The US gave the go ahead for defence contractors to help Taiwan build an indigenous fleet after repeated appeals from Taiwan for help to bolster its defences against an increasingly assertive China.
The decision has prompted Chinese officials to warn the US against playing the ‘Taiwan card’ amid an escalating trade war between the two countries.
Taiwan first sought help from the US to build submarines in 1969, but Washington and European nations were reluctant to assist Taiwan in building a 12-boat fleet because of Chinese objections.
George W Bush’s administration said it would help Taiwan acquire diesel electric submarines, but after little progress, Taipei launched a plan to manufacture its own submarines last year.
The office of Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen thanked the US for its recent decision, while the defence ministry described the go ahead as a “breakthrough.”
Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) get ready for the military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the army at Zhurihe military training base CREDIT: REUTERS
However, media and officials in China – which considers Taiwan a renegade province which will be reunited with the mainland – expressed anger at US interference in Taiwan.
The nationalist Global Times newspaper said: “The mainland needs to continue to prepare for a possible military clash across the Straits.
“A military showdown with Taiwan is becoming more probable and may take place sooner rather than later.”
Liu Jieyi, the director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said “some Americans indeed intend to play the Taiwan card”.
“This will not only harm the entire Chinese people, but harm rights and interests of Taiwan compatriots,” he said, according to Xiamen TV. [FULL STORY]