US military officials are urging their Taiwanese counterparts to buy more US weapons in order to modernize their military, stressing that its present capabilities can’t guarantee its safety in the event of an invasion by China. The statement comes days before Taiwan will hold controversial live-fire exercises in the South China Sea.
David Helvey, a senior Pentagon official for Asian and Pacific security affairs, advised that officials from the self-ruling island “must have resources to modernize its military and provide the critical materiel, manning and training needed to deter, or if necessary defeat, a cross-strait invasion,” at the US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, on Tuesday.
Halvey further criticized China for eroding “Taiwan’s diplomatic space in the international arena while increasing the frequency and scale of [People’s Liberation Army, PLA] activity within and beyond the First Island Chain,” a term that encompasses Taiwan, Japan and several archipelagos that span the sea between them, the South China Morning Post noted.
China has long maintained that Taiwan is a wayward province, the last remaining bastion of the republican government the PLA threw out of Beijing in 1949 when the communist revolution triumphed. Taiwan, which formally still calls itself the Republic of China, maintains the illegitimacy of communist rule over all of China. The two parties have come to a political stalemate that is becoming…