A couple of interesting facts about the ongoing China-Taiwan stand-off. First:
The United States has agreed to sell Taiwan 66 advanced fighter jets to counter China’s continued arms build-up, it was reported Monday. A Taiwanese delegation proposed the procurement of the fleet of F-16C/D fighters during an annual military meeting with Washington early this month, the China Times said.”The United States has given its nod over the sales of 66 F-16C/D Block 52s for at least 100 billion Taiwan dollars (3.1 billion US),” the paper said, without naming a source.
If the report is confirmed, it would be the biggest arms deal Washington has offered Taiwan since 2001 when US President George W. Bush agreed to provide the island with eight diesel-powered submarines, 12 P-3C submarine-hunting aircraft and an improved version of Patriot missiles, the paper said.
Full article here. And Exhibit #2:
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Monday renewed his warning of China’s growing military threat, saying it is now targeting the island with 820 missiles. Chen, during a meeting with a group of Japanese scholars attending a forum in Taipei, said he had expected China’s peaceful rise and the development of democracy there.”However, China military spending has increased at a double-digit rate since the Tiananmen event 17 years ago. This is by no means a way leading to peace,” Chen said.
Full article here.
My question is whether this is just business as usual for these fellas, or whether it signals a true escalation.