Us Conventional Weapons Sales to Taiwan: China’s Response Since 1979


The aim of this paper is to examine how the United States maintains security relationship with Taiwan against any perceived Chinese military threats. Taiwan, which is separated and thus politically divided from mainland China in 1949, is created by the history of a long civil war from roughly 1937 to 1949. The US maintained state to state relationship with Taiwan till 1979 though in 1971 the US recognized that Taiwan was the part of China. It is to be noted that the US reconciled major disputes with China on the condition that the case of Taiwan must be handled peacefully. China cannot force Taiwan for reunification against its will. From the Taiwanese point of view, Taiwan is a sovereign state. She is struggling to enhance her military capability with the help of the US from the inception of the problem. That is why whenever China threatens to capture Taiwan, the US comes forward with its military might according to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. It will be interesting to note how the US sustains arms cooperation with Taiwan since the US does not maintain any formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan since 1979. In this regard, Chinese response to the US-Taiwan security relationship in terms of conventional weapons sales will be observed since 1979. On the one hand, Taiwan is a democratic and capitalist state which has diplomatic relations with few states. China, which is still a politically communist country, is growing as a major economic power as well as a military power in the contemporary world, on the other. From the hegemonic stability point and also political realistic point of views, the US simply wants to continue current status-quo in the Asia-Pacific region to curb China’s emergence as a possible superpower in the 21st century. In this study, why and how the US provides arms, especially conventional weaponries to Taiwan and China’s response to it will mainly be discussed.