The Taipei Times passes along a report that the Obama Administration has given Beijing a veto over US foreign policy:
US Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to embark on a state visit to China in the middle of next month, will provide assurances to Beijing that the US has no plans to sell Taiwan the F-16C/D aircraft it is seeking, reports said yesterday.You can hope that this report is false, but knowledgeable individuals have said all along that no F-16s were coming to Taiwan. Whether or not it will send Biden to Beijing to kowtow to the Chinese, the Obama Administration has apparently decided to forego the sale of F-16s to Taiwan, following the Bush Administration in this regard. Yay for foreign policy continuity!
During his visit, Biden will explain why the US President Barack Obama’s administration, facing pressure from US Congress and required to meet its obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, would agree to upgrade Taiwan’s fleet of 144 F-16A/B aircraft, the Chinese-language news service DW News (多維新聞) reported, citing an unnamed “senior US official.”
However, Biden will reportedly tell his Chinese hosts that Washington has no plans to sell to Taiwan the 66 more advanced F-16C/D it has been seeking since 2006, the report said.
An official announcement on Washington’s decision not to release the F-16C/Ds and to proceed on the upgrade plan will be made in September, it said.
One has to wonder what this means for the Administration's relations with a DPP government in Taipei. If Beijing decides to demonize Tsai as it demonized Chen Shui-bian, will the Obama Administration, which has simply followed Bush in so many areas, foreign and domestic, serve Beijing as the Bush Administration did? Scary.
On a complementary aspect of Taiwan's defense, David Axe in The Diplomat argues that Taiwan needs submarines -- it is actually a long argument against acquiring the fighter aircraft, and ends:
The best weapons for delaying a Chinese attack are ones that can’t be targeted by ballistic missiles – and that could confront a Chinese invasion fleet far from Taiwan's shores. That means submarines.Submarines are nifty -- if one has a long naval tradition of operating submarines and bases that are immune to Chinese attack. Taiwan has neither. Not only will subs not arrive for many years, but their bases will still be as vulnerable to assault as the F-16 fields.
Today, the Taiwanese navy operates just two combat-ready submarines, bought from the Dutch during a rare period when European nations were willing to risk angering Beijing by selling weapons to Taipei. In 2001, Washington approved the sale of eight new diesel-powered subs to Taiwan, but no US shipyards currently build such boats. Ten years later, the deal is still pending.
The attack helicopters that Taiwan is acquiring have air-to-land missiles that can inflict serious harm on an invasion force but it remains to be seen whether Taiwan has the command and communications ability to construct mobile bases and coordinate a defense, especially since they won't have air cover since the US would rather serve Beijing than defend Taiwan. Disgusting.
Clock ticking now on next request Washington will have to fulfill that will make Beijing happy..... because Washington is going to find out that feeding the monster only makes it bigger.
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