Reported US anti-ship missile sales to island of Taiwan slammed as "playing with fire"

The island of Taiwan will reportedly buy as many as 400 land-launched anti-ship Harpoon missiles from the US

A move Chinese mainland experts said on Tuesday is akin to playing with fire, and that the missiles could be destroyed before they have the chance to launch if a conflict breaks out.

Citing a trade group leader and people familiar with the issue, Bloomberg reported on the potential purchase on Monday, followed by other media outlets including Reuters.

The Pentagon announced a $1.17 billion contract for 400 of the anti-ship missiles on April 7 without naming the buyer, saying production was expected to be completed by March 2029, with the island of Taiwan latterly identified as the buyer on Monday, according to the media reports.

China is strongly dissatisfied with and resolutely opposes the US-Taiwan military exchanges and arms sales, which seriously violate the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, seriously harm China’s sovereignty and security interests, and seriously threaten peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a regular press conference on Tuesday in response to the reports.

Wang urged the US to stop such moves. “China will take resolute and powerful measures to firmly safeguard own sovereignty and security interests,” he said.

The possible US Harpoon sale to the island of Taiwan is yet another step of the so-called porcupine strategy to equip the island and attempt to deter the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), a Chinese mainland military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The missiles pose a threat because they could target the PLA’s amphibious landing fleet if a reunification-by-force operation is required, observers said.

However, the PLA has shown its overwhelming military advantage over the island with the latest island encirclement drills, which included mock precision strikes on targets across the island. This means that the land-based missiles will likely get destroyed before they even have the chance to fire, the expert said.

Resisting reunification by force is playing with fire, and every step the “Taiwan independence” secessionists and external interference forces take will surely be met with resolute responses from the Chinese mainland, the expert said.

The US plan to make the island of Taiwan a “porcupine” is from the beginning making the island cannon fodder rather than helping the island, analysts said.

Photo: A computer-generated animation released on April 9, 2023 shows conventional missiles and long-range rocket launchers on land, warplanes in the air and warships at sea simultaneously launching attacks from multiple directions © screenshot of animation from PLA Eastern Theater Command.

Source: The Global Times.

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