U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have both defensive and political value. While President Trump’s current infatuation with China makes it unlikely that Washington will allow a major arms transfer in the short term, Taipei should already be preparing for the day when the American president realizes that Beijing isn’t the ally he was hoping for
With U.S. President Donald J. Trump currently fixated on North Korea and convinced that China’s help in the matter is indispensable, the prospects of an early arms sale to Taiwan — always an irritant in relations between Washington and Beijing — have gotten dim.
Following months of campaigning on a stridently anti-China agenda, Trump, now that he is in the Oval Office, has not only softened his stance but appears to have been charmed by President Xi Jinping, as have several officials in his administration who have lucrative relationships with China. Many fear that the Trump administration has now embarked on a strategy to appease the Chinese. For example, soon after Trump’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart at Mar-a-Lago last month, the U.S. Navy was denied permission to continue freedom of navigation patrols in the disputed South China Sea, a move seen by many observers as a yet another of many concessions to China.