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China claims Taiwan as its own, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has talked about reunification between the two regions many times. So, after Pelosi’s controversial early August visit to Taiwan, China held some military exercises and fired missiles around the region, reportedly entering the island’s territory in the Taiwan Strait. And Taiwan responded by alerting its own military and keeping a close eye on nearby Chinese activity. Toward the end of the month, though, tensions cooled slightly between the two.
Now, relations between Taiwan and China are stressing once again. Taiwan Army Chief of Staff Chang Yuan-shiun made a statement about how Taiwan is working on a new weapons program. It is stockpiling the same types of US-made weapons that Ukraine has used in its defense against Russia. The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) artillery and anti-armor systems are part of Taiwan’s latest defense budget. An order for HIMARS and precision rockets is expected to be delivered by 2027. On Tuesday, China demanded that the US stop weapons sales and military contact with Taiwan in response to Biden’s latest proposed package to sell the island US$1.1 billion in missiles and radar support.
On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that any attempts from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party “to solicit US support for independence is doomed to fail.”
Following Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the US has seen “a clear attempt by the Chinese to permanently alter the status quo in and around Taiwan and to set a new normal for their activity and behaviors,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday. “We’re not going to recognize it, we’re not going to abide by it, we’re not going to stop raising our concerns over it. There’s no reason for the temperature to get dialed up.”
“The program is being implemented as planned,” said Taiwan’s Army Chief of Staff Chang Yuan-shiun, adding that “there is a combined management and planning effort by Taiwan and the United States to make sure that the system is delivered on time.”