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English>>Foreign Affairs

Change in attitude to Straits bound to come eventually

(Global Times)

08:27, August 17, 2012

The US pledged to reduce arms sales to Taiwan in 1982 in the third and final joint communiqué. However, in the same year, the Reagan administration gave the "Six Assurances" to Taiwan that the US would not set a date for ending arms sales, which laid the hidden dangers of the current dispute.

Since taking office, the Obama administration has attached great strategic importance to the Asia Pacific region. The US desires to take a share of regional development, and it wants to maintain its leading role by responding to the security concerns of regional countries and enhancing security relations with traditional allies.

Taiwan is an ally of the US. Although the US terminated its Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan in 1979, it has never abandoned its security support of the island. Against the background of the "back to Asia" policy, the Obama administration will certainly not terminate arms sales to Taiwan.

In recent years, relations across the Taiwan Straits have entered a period of peaceful development. The US welcomes this. But it also worries about the rapid development of the military strength of Chinese mainland.

US experts on the Taiwan question have admitted that US arms sales to Taiwan will not fundamentally change its weak position. But they also believe that arms sales will make Taiwan more confident in initiating dialogue and developing relations with the Chinese mainland.

US officials always argue that it is Taiwan that makes the offer to buy arms first. Why not do business when the customer is at your gate, they imply.

The general framework of US policy toward Taiwan has not changed fundamentally these years. US arms sales to Taiwan will remain an obstacle in the development of Sino-US relations.

In the US, since 2009, there has been a growing chorus calling for the "abandonment" of Taiwan. One argument goes that as China rises, the US should avoid confrontation with China as much as possible. The US should be careful of touching China's core interests. Therefore, it is not necessary to infuriate China on the Taiwan question.

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